Saturday, October 28, 2017

Irakere - 1980 - Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre

01. Cuba Libre
02. Sea Mail
03. Encuentro
04. Que Pasa?
05. Gospelanza
06. Cuba Libre (Reprise)

Alto Saxophone – German Velazco Urdeliz
Bass – Carlos Puerto
Drums – Enrique Plá
Guitar – Carlos Emilio Morales
Keyboards – Chucho Valdés
Percussion – Jorge Alfonso, Oscar Valdés
Tenor Saxophone – Carlos Averhoff
Trumpet – Arturo Sandoval, Jorge Varona
Written-By, Composed By, Arranged By, Producer – Chikara Ueda

Artwork [Front Cover ("Tres Lindas Cubas")] – Servando Cabrera Moreno
Recorded at Sound Inn Studio, Tokyo, August 3,4,5, 1980

Irakere is a Cuban band founded in Havana, 1973 by Armando de Sequeira Romeu  and Chucho Valdes. They combine the power of Cuban rhythms with a free-flowing expression of American jazz; they created a force that changed the course of Cuban popular music. Many of the top Cuban jazz musicians have played in Irakere during the past several decades, including altoist Paquito D'Rivera and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval (before both individually defected). Pianist Chucho Valdes has been the orchestra's longtime leader; its music ranges from Latin jazz and bop to Cuban folk melodies, with an emphasis on infectious rhythms and advanced improvisations. Several of Irakere's records have been made available domestically (including sets for Columbia and Jazz House,). Irakere were allowed to appear at the Newport Jazz Festival in the summer of 1978 where the group really made an impact on the audience. This appearance was to be followed by another crowd pleasing performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. One result of the fantastic performances was a recording contract with Columbia Records who released both ‘Irakere’ and ‘Irakere 2’ which both won awards at The Latin Grammy’s in 1979 and 1980. Unfortunately, Columbia Records later dropped Irakere from their label. However, the two albums they got to do did excel the bands popularity massively keeping them held in high esteem by their fans.

Irakere were extremely important to the rise of Cuban music. Prior to the explosion of Buena Vista Social Club they were the leading and best loved Cuban band on the international stage. The band has a cult following around the world obsessed with the genius musicianship and song-writing of these Cuban legends. Chucho Valdes is regarded as the greatest jazz pianist in Cuba and Arturo Sandoval is arguably the most prodigious trumpeter of his generation, both going on to great individual fame in the United States. The only change from the early recordings sees Paquito D’ Rivera replaced by the brilliant German Velazco Vrdeliz on sax, with many of the best Cuban musicians of the period remaining to deliver stunning performances for this fascinating session.

In 1980 Irakere recorded ‘Cuba Libre’ in Japan; it was composed, arranged and produced by the remarkable Japanese musician Chikara Ueda. Almost the entire original line up was in place including Chucho Valdes, Arturo Sandoval and Jorge Alfonso.

Extremely rare, cult record from one of the finest bands to emerge from Cuba. Recorded in Japan in 1980 and released as a Japanese exclusive vinyl LP ‘Cuba Libre’ was composed, arranged and produced by the remarkable Japanese musician Chikara Ueda.  With almost the entire original line up in place including Chucho Valdes, Arturo Sandoval, and Jorge Alfonso this is a record of sublime quality that retains all of the authentic essence and beauty of Cuban music. Among the most influential Latin bands Irakere’s mix of fiery funk anthems and sophisticated jazz has rarely sounded better than on these six classic tracks.

Do you want more vintage Irakere?... Let us know!

Chikara Ueda With New Herd - 1981 - Herdland

Chikara Ueda With New Herd 

01. Collaboration Part 1: Enchant
02. Collaboration Part 2: Touch
03. Collaboration Part 3: Power Play
04. Collaboration Part 4: Feel Like Makin'
05. Herdland
06. Soul Market
07. Qué Lastima
08. Don't Stop The Funk

Recorded at King Studio, Oct. 12-14, 1980

Backing Vocals – Jada (13) (tracks: A1, B4)
Baritone Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Bass Clarinet – Haruomi Ishimatsu
Drums – Yoshio Nakamura
Electric Bass – Kazuya Sugimoto (tracks: B3, B4), Yoshiaki Akagi
Electric Guitar – Katsutoshi Morizono
Percussion – Masato Kawase, Yoshinori Nohmi
Piano, Electric Piano – Kiyoshi Takano
Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone – Noboru Muramatsu, Tatsuma Takei
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet – Kanji Okada, Mikinori Fujiwara
Trombone – Fumio Iwase, Teruhiko Kataoka, Toshinobu Iwasaki, Yutaka Kohno
Trumpet – Koichi Ono, Masahiro Kobayashi, Shigeo Usuzawa, Shigeru Kamimori

Another one tat was requested, I didn't have it myself and a friend sent me a copy, neither he or me know any background info on it... so I ope you guys can tells us something about this one...

Takeshi Inomata Group - 1970 - Jazz Rock in Stravinsky

Takeshi Inomata Group 
Jazz Rock in Stravinsky 

01. Pétrouchka
02. The Rite of Spring

Takeshi Inomata (ds, perc)
Jun Suzuki (el-b)
Yasuo Arakawa (b)
Sadanori Nakamure (el-g)
Kimio Mizutani (fuzz-g)
Shigeo Suzuki (Cl, Ss)
Makio Shimizu (Cl, B-Cl)
Tetsuo Fushimi (Tp, Flugerhorn)
Takehisa Suzuki (tp, flugerhorn)
Shunzo Ohno (tp, flh)
Kunitoshi Shinohara (tp, flugerhorn)
Nishimura Kiji (tb)
Takashi Imai (tb)
Shigemichi Domoto (tb)
Toshiaki Yokota (fl, pic)
Yukio Goto (Fl, Pic)
Takashi Asahi (fl, pic)
Katsuyoshi Kurosawa (hr)
Koji Yamaguchi (hr)
Hiroyuki Iguchi (ob)
Tadayuki Harada (bs)
Keisuke Egusa (Pf)
Kenji Shiraishi (Key, Perc)
Yasukazu Amamiya (key, perc)
Osamu Nakajima (latin-perc)
Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra String Section
Norio Maeda : Norio Maeda (Cond, Arr)

As good as a large jazz-rock ensemble tackling two Stravinsky ballets is going to get. It's an odd, ODD mishmash, but it's so compelling I can't stop listening to it. It helps I'm a huge Stravinsky fan, and am familiar with Inomata's other stuff.

If you can find it, grab it. The tracks slip in and out of to-the-note interpretations of the passages and jazzed-up solo spots based on other passages. There's also heavy guitar. Yep.

Jiro Inagaki & His Soul Media - 1973 - In The Groove

Jiro Inagaki & His Soul Media 
In The Groove

01. That's How I Feel
02. Blue Blood
03. It's Impossible
04. Put It Where You Want It
05. Crazy Medicine
06. Joie De Vivre
07. Papa Hooper's Barrel House Groove
08. Thrill Is Gone
09. Raven Speaks
10. Samba Chimba

Jiro Inagaki: Alto & tenor saxophone
Tsunehide Matsuki: Guitar
Takeshi Kamachi: Electric piano
Akira Okazawa: Bass
Takashi Imai: Trombone
Hajime Ishimatsu: Drums

Jiro Inagaki left the Jazz Rock to focus himself on the Jazz Funk movement, with an album as The Jazz Crusaders know how best to do, as evidenced the cover songs of Wilton Felder (That's How I Feel) & Joe Sample (Put It Where You Want It). For this new route, Jiro has recruited new members for his Soul Media group featuring Akira Okazawa, Tsunehide Matsuki & Norio Maeda in charge of the arrangements and who contributes to three compositions. This blend of Smooth Jazz & Funk, approaches of the sound from CTI recordings that Creed Taylor has could produced in the seventies.

Bingo Miki & His Inner Galaxy Orchestra Of America - 1981 - Mystic Solar

Bingo Miki & His Inner Galaxy Orchestra Of America 
Mystic Solar 

01. Genesis (Naki & Nami) Part I 6:30
02. Sunroad Travellers Part II 6:09
03. Mirage Part III 5:29
05. Heat Haze Part IV 4:52
06. Mystic Solar Dance Part V 15:18

Bass – Tom Fowler
Bass Trombone – Phil Teele
Bassoon – Josuke Ohata
Drums – Chester Thompson
Electric Piano – Masatsugu Matsumoto
Flute, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone – John Gross
Flute, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Akira Omori, Eric Marienthal
French Horn – Brad Warnaar
Keyboards – Barry Miles
Percussion – Steve Forman, Tetsuya Furutani
Piccolo Flute – Steve Fowler
Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet – Michael Altschul
Trombone – Hart Smith, Michio Kagiwada
Trumpet – Barry Ries, Bruce Fowler, Frank Szabo, Kenji Yoshida, Louis Fasman, Walter Fowler
Tuba – Jim Self

Bingo Miki leads an American-staffed version of his Inner Galaxy Orchestra through a set of his own compositions.

Bingo Miki & Inner Galaxy Orchestra - 1980 - The Eve

Bingo Miki & Inner Galaxy Orchestra
The Eve

01. Future Legacy
02. North Field
03. Arie's Apology
04. Romanesque
05. Past Reflection
06. Purple Cloud Hills
07. Look Back In Anger
08. The Moon And Six Pence

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Masatsugu Matsumoto
Bass Guitar – Makoto Saito
Bass Trombone – Yoshio Oikawa
Clarinet [Soprano], Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Masao Suzuki
Double Bass – Yukinori Narushige
Drums – Hajime Ishimatsu, Kanya Kazama
Flugelhorn – Hiroyuki Minami
Flute [Soprano, Bass, Piccolo] – Yukihiko Nishizawa
Keyboards – Hiroshi Matsumoto
Percussion – Masato Kawase, Tetsuya Furutani
Piano – Himiko Kikuchi
Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet – Hisashi Yoshinaga
Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Flute, Piccolo Flute – Akita Miyazawa
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Kosei Kikuchi
Trombone – Hitomi Uchida, Michio Kagiwada, Toshinobu Iwasaki
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Hiroshi Abiko, Kenji Nakazawa, Kenji Yoshida, Masanobu Takei, Tetsuo Sato
Tuba – Shuhei Kubo
Vocals – Mari Nakamoto

Recorded at Iruma City Hall, Saitama, Japan on 10-11th of July 1980.

Bingo Miki & Inner Galaxy Orchestra - 1979 - Montreux Cyclone

Bingo Miki & Inner Galaxy Orchestra 
Montreux Cyclone

01. Old Sunshine
02. Cyclone From East
03. In The Summer Shadow
04. Pitter Pat
05. Zylvia
06. The First Love Song
07. Alcazar
08. Merman's Dance
09. Sibelius' Testament

Recorded Live on July 11 1979 at Casino, Montreux.

Bingo Miki, leader, arranger
Kenji Yoshida, trumpet
Hiroshi Abiko, trumpet
Kenji Nakazawa, trumpet
Hitoshi Yokoyama, trumpet
Tetsuo Sato, trumpet, flugelhorn
Michio Kagiwada, trombone
Osamu Shiomura, trombone
Hideo Iguchi, trombone
Yoshio Oikawa, bass trombone
Shuhei Kubo, tuba
Hiroyuki Minami, French horn
Yukihiko Nishizawa, flute, piccolo
Masakazu Ishibashi, oboe
Jusuke Ohata, fagot
Masao Suzuki, alto sax, clarinet
Hidehiko Matsumoto, tenor,flute
Kosei Kikuchi, alto, tenor, soprano sax
Masaru Imada, piano
Himiko Kikuchi, keyboards
Mitsuaki Furuno, bass
Yukinori Narishige, electric bass
Masatsuga Matsumoto, electric guitar
Tetsuya Furutani, percussion
Yoshiyuki Nakamura, drums.

Special Guests:
Bob Brookmeyer, trombone
John Faddis, trumpet, piccolo
Richard Davis, bass
Joe Beck, guitar.

Sometimes it pays to be lucky. After searching in vain for a couple of hard–to–find albums from the mid–’70s by Tokyo–based Toshiyuki Miyama’s New Herd (see August big–band reviews), I went to the source — the affable Tee Fujii, proprietor of Three Blind Mice Records. Of course, he replied, he would be happy to send copies of both albums. And, he added, he would ship a third disc as well — Montreux Cyclone by Bingo Miki and the Inner Galaxy Orchestra. Terrific, I thought. That’s exactly what I need; an album of “otherworldly” music by another Sun Ra clone. How wrong can one be? Wrong enough, in this case, to offer Tee an apology for doubting him, and to inform whoever is reading this that not only is the 25–member Inner Galaxy Orchestra unlike Sun Ra or any other body in that firmament, it is an absolutely spectacular straight–ahead big band in the Basie/Herman/Kenton tradition performing (in concert at Montreux) superlative compositions and arrangements by Miki, Richard Davis, Jon Faddis, Bob Brookmeyer and Don Sebesky (Davis, Faddis and Brookmeyer sit in with the ensemble on their respective charts, while guitarist Joe Beck is showcased on Sebesky’s “Alcazar”). The album opens with Miki’s fabulous three–part suite, “Montreux Cyclone,” which encompasses impressive solos by flugel Hiroshi Abiko on Part 1 (“Old Sunshine”), drummer Yoshiyuki Nakamura, percussionist Tetsuya Furutani and tenor/flutist “Sleepy” Matsumato on Part 2 (“Cyclone from the East”) and pianist Masaru Imada on Part 3 (“In the Summer Shadow”). Matsumoto, on flute, mirrors closely the singular mannerisms of the legendary Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Track 4, “Pitter Pat,” is a chops–testing showcase for bassist Davis, while trumpeter Faddis steps front and center (and into the stratosphere) on his sumptuous ballad–cum–blazer, “Zylvia.” If Faddis is in top–notch form (and make no mistake, he is), valve trombonist Brookmeyer is equally sharp and masterful on “The First Love Song” (when he plays in the pocket, as he does here, Brookmeyer has few peers). After Beck’s dazzling voyage on “Alcazar,” Miki ends the concert with two more of his noteworthy compositions, “Merman’s Dance” (from the suite “Back to the Sea”) and a magnificent finale that almost succeeds in lowering everything that preceded it to the status of an hors d’oeuvre — an ultra–modern Jazz version of Jean Sibelius’ classic tone poem, “Finlandia,” enhanced by galvanizing ensemble passages and crisp solos by Nakamura, trumpeter Kenji Yoshida and clarinetist Masao Suzuki. Batten down the hatches; this Cyclone is a monster whose awesome intensity and power can blow you away.

Bingo Miki & Inner Galaxy Orchestra - 1978 - Back To The Sea

Bingo Miki & Inner Galaxy Orchestra
Back To The Sea

01. Back To The Sea (Prologue) 9:34
02. Swingin' On The Horizon 5:54
03. When Waves Sing 3:51
04. Natural Flow 7:01
05. Merman's Dance 9:44
06. Back To The Sea (Epilogue) 2:23

Recorded at Epicurus studio, Tokyo, Japan on June 20, 27, 28 & 29 1978.

Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Masatsugu Matsumoto
Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet – Kenji Mori
Bass Guitar – Yukinori Narishige (tracks: A1, A2, B2, B3)
Bass Trombone – Sumio Okada (tracks: B1, B2), Yoshio Oikawa (tracks: A1 to A3, B3)
Bassoon – Josuke Ohata
Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone – Masao Suzuki
Double Bass – Mitsuaki Furuno (tracks: A2, A3, B1)
Drums – Takuji Kusumoto, Yoshiyuki Nakamura
Electric Piano, Clavinet – Himiko Kikuchi
Flute, Piccolo Flute, Alto Flute – Yukihiko Nishizawa
French Horn – Hiroyuki Minami
Oboe – Masakazu Ishibashi
Percussion – Tetsuya Furutani
Piano [Yamaha] – Masaru Imada
Synthesizer [Arp Odyssey, Mini Moog, Pro-soloist, Solina] – Masayuki Nakatomi
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Hidehiko Matsumoto
Trombone – Michio Kagiwada, Osamu Shiomura
Trumpet – Hitoshi Yokoyama, Kenji Nakazawa, Kenji Yoshida
Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Hiroshi Abiko, Hitoshi Okano
Tuba – Shuhei Kubo

THREE BLIND MICE Record Production "Seaside invitation" released as a 100-page commemorative album. A novel orchestral jazz masterpiece by Toshigo Miki such as Slow Ballad "NATURAL FLOW" featuring Akuta Masaru's Acoustech piano in full story, A1's Vocal Ver by Nakamoto Mari singing.
Back To The Sea is a project to the cinematic concept created by Bingo Miki and recorded on the cult label Three Blind Mice (equivalent of CTI records in Japan). It performed by a large Big Band based on 28 musicians gathered in three sections (brass, reeds & rhythm), including some Japanese Jazz Giants as Hidehiko Matsumoto, Masao Suzuki,  Kenji Mori, Masaru Imada or Himiko Kikuchi. On Back To The Sea (Epilogue), note the presence of famous pop/jazz vocalist Mari Nakamoto who recorded Unforgetable! (1973) & Little Girl Blue (1974) with the Shoji Yokouchi Trio on the same label. At Montreux Jazz Festival in 1979, The Inner Galaxy Orchestra was surrounded by trumpetist Jon Faddis, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, guitarist Joe Beck and bassist Richard Davis. The project mix Contempory Jazz tracks & Fusion Jazz Funk all arranged, composed and conducted by Bingo Miki.

Bingo Miki, Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union - 1977 - Scandinavian Suite

Bingo Miki, Tatsuya Takahashi & Tokyo Union 
Scandinavian Suite

01. Midnight Sunrise 7:10
02. Sketches Of Munch 7:20
03. The Legend Of Garbo 6:33
04. Andersen Fantasia 7:20
05. Sibelius' Testament 5:10
06. Children At Play 6:24

Recorded May, 15 & 22 1977. at Epicurus Studio Tokyo

Alto Saxophone [1st] – Keiji Hori
Alto Saxophone [3rd] – Hiroshi Yaginuma
Baritone Saxophone [5th] – Takemi Ishikane
Bass – Yoshinori Ishida
Bass Trombone [4th] – Kenichi Sudare
Drums – Kazuhiro Ebisawa
Guitar – Kenichi Araya, Takao Naoi
Tenor Saxophone [2nd] – Tatsuya Takahashi
Percussion – Yuji Imamura
Piano – Masahiro Kanayama
Synthesizer – Mickey Yoshino
Tenor Saxophone [4th] – Seiji Inoue
Trombone [1st] – Eijiro Miyazaki
Trombone [2nd] – Kiyotaka Uchida
Trombone [3rd] – Koichi Okada
Trumpet [1st] – Yoshifumi Tada
Trumpet [2nd] – Hiroshi Abiko
Trumpet [3rd] – Motoharu Suzuki
Trumpet [4th] – Tomokazu Saio

Japanese composer, arranger and tenor saxophonist Bingo Miki studied at Berklee School of Music and with the famed composer George Russell before he went back to Japan and started working for Tatsuya Takahashi and The Tokyo Union. Although he was still young and virtually unknown, the Three Blind Mice producer Takeshi Fujii was deeply impressed by Miki's talent and comissioned a suite for a recording project to celebrate the label's seventh anniversary.

Big band pyrotechnics by the 20-piece Tokyo Union. This is no sleepy Scandinavian voyage, more a groovy collection of orchestra and electronics in the shape of six varied stormers written by legendary Japanese bandsman Bingo Miki and perhaps a little more accessable and funky then some of the big band outings released under his own name around the same period.

Familiar orchestral colours are melded with more progressive and funky arrangements and styles of the period culminating with the monstrous cop-show theme sounding "Children At Play". A surprising and original jazz album that's a pleasure from start to finish.

The result was the six-part Scandinavian Suite, the inspiration for which was drawn in part by Miki's experience when he had spent 10 months in Finland, and this ambitious and magnificent recording that stands now as a landmark in the history of orchestral jazz in Japan. Mostly modal compositions and prominent use of synthesizers and electric guitars reflect the time (1977). The performance and recording are equally as brilliant as the composition itself.

Rinsyoe Kida, Akira Ishikawa & His Count Buffalos - 1973 - Tsugaru Jongara Bushi - Drum & Tsugaru Jamisen

Rinsyoe Kida, Akira Ishikawa & His Count Buffalos
Tsugaru Jongara Bushi - Drum & Tsugaru Jamisen

01. 津軽じょんがら節
02. 花笠音頭
03. 津軽たんと節
04. 秋田おばこ
05. 相馬盆唄
06. 十三の砂山
07. ソーラン節
08. 津軽よされ節
09. 真室川音頭
10. 津軽小原節
11. どんぱん節
12. 津軽あいや節

Masaoki Terakawa: Bass
Akira Ishikawa: Drums
Hideo Ichikawa: Piano
Takeru Muraoka: Saxophone
Rinsyoe Kida: Shamisen
Koji Hatori: Trumpet

japanese title: 津軽じょんがら節 ドラム&津軽三味線
(津軽三味線) 木田 林松栄
(ドラムス) 石川晶とカウント・バッファローズ

Shamisen never sounded so groovy before – thanks to excellent work from Akira Ishikawa & His Count Buffalos – who are working here at their funky 70s best! The album mixes great sounds from Count Buffalos with the solo talents of Rinsoye Kida on shamisen – the traditional Japanese three-stringed instrument that's usually used in much more conservative settings – but which is recorded here in a style that's right up front in the mix, and able to step out nicely in front of the fuller, groovier backings from Ishikawa and his group! Given the nature of the instrument, the style is quite different than some other jazz albums from the time that try to mix with Japanese folkloric styles – maybe a bit like Dorothy Ashby on the koto, but more striking overall. 

Akira Ishikawa & His Count Buffalos - 1976 - Get Up!

Akira Ishikawa & His Count Buffalos 
Get Up!

01. Get Up!
02. Discharge
03. Heated Point
04. Painted Paradise
05. Stone River
06. Minor Jump

Recorded at Victor Studios on August 4-20, 1975.

Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Masao Suzuki
Bass – Masaoki Terakawa
Drums – Akira Ishikawa
Electric Piano – Hideo Ichikawa
Electric Piano, Synthesizer – Hiromasa Suzuki
Guitar – Takao Naoi
Percussion – Rally Sunaga
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Takeru Muraoka
Trombone – Eiji Arai
Trumpet – Koji Hatori

Akira Ishikawa his long time friend the pianist & arranger, Hiromasa ‘Colgen’ Suzuki, in a joint project of Fusion Jazz Funk such as played the Weather Report, featuring the Count Buffalo band. Titles include only original tracks specially composed for this album by Suzuki, except The Heated Point & Painted Paradise respectively recorded for Electro Keyboard Orchestra & Jiro Inagaki’s Funky Stuff albums, both released in 1974. All tracks arranged by Hiromasa Suzuki…………..
Akira Ishikawa was born in Yokosuka in 1934. He played with Akira Miyazawa’s Modern All Stars; and later with Toshiyuki Miyama and his New Herd (in its early days), then left to form his own band The Gentures (try this on YouTube), which later gave birth to Count Buffalos. He was hugely influenced by African rhythms after visiting East Africa in the 1970. Hence the albums Uganda: Dawn of African Rock (more here) and then Bakishinba.
Besides working as a session musician and also on TV (he takes the blame for this theme tune for an NHK kids show), he spent a lot of time working on projects to benefit African kids). In the 1990s he founded the music club Piga Piga in Ebisu, which hosted some of the best live African sounds in Tokyo. He later moved back to live in Kenya, which is where he died in 2002

Akira Ishikawa - 1975 - Back to Rhythm

Akira Ishikawa 
Back to Rhythm

01. I've Got To Use My Imagination
02. Bongo Rock
03. Do It Til You're Satisfied
04. Hey Jude
05. El Condor Pasa
06. Pick Up The Pieces
07. Love Is The Answer
08. I Shot The Sheriff
09. Let's Start
10. Boogie On Raggae Woman

Masao Suzuki: Baritone Sax
Masaoki Terakawa: Bass
Akira Ishikawa: Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Kiyoshi Sugimoto: Guitar
Takao Naoi: Guitar
Tsuneo Matsumoto: Guitar
Larry Sunaga: Percussion
Hiromasa Suzuki: Synthesizer
Takeru Muraoka: Tenor Saxophone
Eiji Arakawa: Trombone
Koji Hatori: Trumpet

Recorded January 13, 15, 16 and 20, 1975.

A Jazz Funk album which closing the African period of Akira Ishikawa, always surrounded by his fabulous Count Buffalos featuring Kiyoshi Sugimoto, Takeru Muraoka, Larry Sunaga plus arranger Hiromasa Suzuki. Titles include Pop covers from The Beatles to Simon & Garfunkel, classics of Funk as the Do It Til You're Satisfied of the BT' Express or the Boogie On Reggae Woman by Stevie Wonder, a groovy variation of Pick Up The Pieces by the Average White Band (played like James Brown), I Shot The Sheriff (from the Eric Clapton version), Bongo Rock (Incredible Bongo Band) and the Fela Kuti's Let's Start. All tracks arranged by Hiromasa Suzuki.

After falling in love with Assagai's VERY unusual cover/Highlife reinterpretation of Hey Jude in the Yoruba language (and later putting it on one of my lists), I then find myself today combing through my Pile 'o Jazz, stumble across a couple Ishikawa records I haven't gone through yet, throw this on, and find myself listening to the very same Hey Jude cover. Not Ishikawa covering The Beatles' Hey Jude. This is Ishikawa covering Assagai covering Hey Jude. He's even singing the lyrics in Yoruba.

I legitimately got paranoid for about five seconds that I was in a dream. It seemed way too surreal to be right. Assagai's debut didn't sell well at all. Copies of the original US, UK and Canada Vertigo LPs aren't mega-ultra-rare, but they're not cheap. So I had to convince myself that a guy who was better known for gimmicky combinations of African percussion and Japanese free jazz... bought a Highlife album that sold like herpes-flavored pickles... and then covered THAT version

Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffalo - 1972 - Uganda

Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffalo

01. 動物達と夜明け [Wanyama Na Mapambazuko]
02. 求愛 [Na Tu Penda Sana]
03. 戦い [Vita]
04. ピグミー [Pigmy]

Ishikawa Akira:  drums, percussion
Kimio Mizutani:  electric guitar
Larry Sunaga:  percussion
Chihara Hideaki (=Takebe Hideaki, from Adams): bass.

Akira Ishikawa had a mission. He wanted to find the eternal now of rhythm. After a mind-blowing trip to Africa in 1970, the Japanese percussionist had a goal — true Afro-delic Acid Rock. He hooked up with composer Muroaka Takeru and this album was born in 1971. Awash in minimalist percussion — at times sounding like a field recording of a commune or some street performers — the album devolves into primitive heavy acid rock and throbbing seriousness. Ishikawa's intense personal vision and mission is no record-collector curiosity. This beauty deserves our attention.
Long known to collectors of bizarre Japanese psychedelic/heavy rock (see Cope, Julian), Uganda became something of a mystery and a holy grail. The album screams, too. It stumbles into that same primal early rock, excuse me, RAWK place that bands like Leaf Hound, The Edgar Broughton Band, and Australia's Buffalo ended up. In fact, this record comes off like a recording of the jam sessions that led to the riffs and beats of the James Gang's "Funk #49" but without all that familiarity from FM radio. Famed guitarist Mizutani Kimio trades monster licks with rambling percussion, an impressive drum kit (Ishikawa) and lots of moaning and throb.
The opening cut "Wanyamana Mapambazuko" will attract the most attention. It's utter heaviness will recall the stomping feet of Flower Travelling Band's Satori or even the Groundhogs' monstrous Split. The layers of percussion unsettle and make the walls wiggle. They evoke the sound of long dead gods in old amplifiers and fingers rubbing on hide
If you like wah, this record will blow you away. Kimio Mizutani is essentially Japan's version of early 70s Peter Green, but without any of the subtlety. I can see so many similarities. Both this album and Peter Green's 1970 record have the two most consistent and heaviest tracks as the opening and closing tracks, while the the inner tracks have a few great moments buried in long, guitar-less percussion jams (which reminds me, the last minute of "Na Tu Penda Sana" has some absolutely psychotic fuzz noise after warming you up with 8 minutes of tribal drumming). Both have a really strong bass player with a nice and thick fuzz tone. And although this last part is only a superficial similarity, Peter Green did coincidentally release "Uganda Woman" in the same year. So the problem is basically the same as Green's solo debut (not enough guitar), other than that it's a brilliant record. Actually, I do have to admit that Vita is a bit disappointing. 

Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffalos - 1970 - Electrum

Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffalos 

01. Electrum 20:56
02. Revulsion 7:36
03. Speak Under My Breath 5:37
04. The Eyebrow 7:08

Masaoki Terakawa: Bass
Akira Ishikawa: Drums
Kiyoshi Sugimoto: Guitars
Hiromasa Suzuki: Keyboards
Masahiko Satoh: Piano
Takeru Muraoka: Sax

Recorded on July 20 and August 4, 1970.

In 1970, they released an album of extremely accomplished but very conventional Burt Bacharach covers. Then, in the same year, they dropped this monster. There are parts of the structure that echo the earliest Mothers Of Invention albums but really this is hyped up jazz with a funk heart. The musicianship is truly jaw-dropping. 

A really far-reaching and dynamic little set from Japanese drummer Akira Ishikawa and his Count Buffalos group – one that definitely lives up to the promise of its Electrum title! As you might guess from a word like that, the sound here is relatively electric – served up with electric piano, clavinet, guitar, and electric bass – all in a style that's a lot more relaxed and open than some of the group's other work, almost in the best mode of spacier electric jazz from the US at the same time. Tracks are all quite long, and spun out in really evocative ways – dipping, turning, and cascading with a lot of soulfully searching energy. 

It took THIRTY SIX years before anybody thought to repress this ... seriously, what is wrong with people? 

Akira Ishikawa Count Buffalo Jazz And Rock Band - 1970 - Bakishinba - Memories Of Africa

Akira Ishikawa Count Buffalo Jazz And Rock Band
Bakishinba - Memories Of Africa

01. Sandstorm
02. Sunrise
03. Flamingo
04. African Deer
05. Bakishinba
06. Mirage
07. Blue Soul

Akira Ishikawa_drums & african percussion
Kiyoshi Sugimoto_electric guitar
Isao Eto_electric bass
Hirosama Suzuki_keyboards
Norio Maeda_organ
Takeru Muraoka_tenor sax
Masami Kawahara_latin percussion

Great drummer & bandleader, Akira Ishikawa featuring his Count Buffalo band who were prolific on the japanese Jazz Rock scene of the late 60s and early 70s. He was also a member of the legendary japanese quintet the Freedom Unity with Hiromasa Suzuki and Takeru Muraoka. Akira explores African rhythms and creates an intelligent fusion of Jazz, Soul and Rock as evidenced the 'African Deer' suite, all in collaboration of two great arrangers, Norio Maeda & Hiromasa Suzuki. This 'African' orientation will reach its apogee with cult album, 'Unganda', released in 1972. Titles include Sandstorm & Sunrise composed by M. Yoshino, Flamingo & African Deer by Norio Maeda, Bakishinba, Mirage & Blue Soul by Hiromasa Suzuki. All tracks arranged by Norio Maeda & Hiromasa Suzuki.
Solid Afro inspired funky jazz set from Ishikawa & Co . Seven original compositions from Maeda , Suzuki & Yoshino make for a good listen and ensure this is one of the most consistent Count Buffalo albums….. 

Ishikawa is a jazz percussionist with a long career, being active since the mid 50’s. He was bandleader for the Japanese version of ‘Hair’. Ishikawa has often worked with Masahiko Satoh [see below], who also features in the Count Buffalos band at some points. What might be their first album was credited to Count Buffalo & the Jazz Rock Band – ‘Soul & Rock’ [Denon, 1969] – and is pretty straight stuff. ‘Electrum’ [Victor, 1970], credited to Akira Ishikawa & Count Buffalos, featured jazz rock and free jazz composed by Satoh; if you like the fusion of that era, you will probably agree this is a pretty good album with great playing. ‘Bakishinba - Memories of Africa’ [Polydor, 1970], credited to Akira Ishikawa Count Buffalo Jazz and Rock Band, came next; the music is mostly fairly predictable, but very well done, laid-back electric jazz rock. The nearly-11 minute title track has more freewheeling intensity, and is a highlight of the album for me, the whole of which starts out a little bland but improves in creativity as it goes on. Despite this, it never gets that far out, unlike the remarkable follow-up album ‘Uganda’. ‘Bakishinba’ has been reissued on CD by USM Japan, in a gatefold mini-LP sleeve with a fold-out poster of Ishikawa [and Japanese liner notes on the other side]. After this, Ishikawa went to Uganda and absorbed the native music, bringing home new experience and numerous African percussion instruments to add to his sonic palette. The result, co-composed with Takeru Muraoka [who had played with Terumasa Hino was ‘Uganda (Africa Rock No Yoake [‘Dawn of African Rock’])’ [Toshiba-EMI, 1972], which has been referred to incorrectly with the band name being Uganda. Oddly, it was also influenced by Tony Williams’ Lifetime. Around half the album is African-styled percussion from Ishikawa and Larry Sunaga, with guitarist Kimio Mizutani [see below] and bassist Hideaki Chihara [ex-Adams] joining in the rest of the time for some primal acid rock jams. People usually comment on the fuzz guitar work, but to my ears although the playing is excellent the fuzz is very mild compared to the occasional distorted bass guitar explosions [at least it sounds like bass to me, and I’m a bass player too]. One song even has some brief moments that sound like Egg! It has been reissued on LP by Shadoks, reputedly a bootleg, and has recently been reissued legally on CD by Tiliqua, from the master tapes and with excellent liner notes. This reissue also comes in a miniature box that replicates the original packaging. 

Teruo Nakamura - 1976 - Rising Sun

Teruo Nakamura 
Rising Sun

01. Rising Sun 4:05
02. Cat 7:18
03. Morning Mist / Steppin' With Lord 9:30
04. Red Shoes 3:04
05. Precious One 6:40
06. Sweet Pea & Collard Greens 7:12

Priscilla Baskerville Vocals
Art Gore Drums, Tambourine
Steve Grossman Sax (Tenor)
Onaje Allan Gumbs Piano (Electric)
Sandi Hewitt Vocals
Carter Jefferson Sax (Soprano)
Shiro Mori Guitar
John Mosley Trumpet
Teruo Nakamura Bass, Guitar
Bob Neloms Piano (Electric)
James Sidey Vocals
Dr. Lonnie Smith Synthesizer
Harry Whitaker Piano

Based in New York since 1964, Teruo Nakamura is a japanese producer, multi-instrumentalist & jazz bassist, mainly known as a great performer of Fusion Jazz. Recorded at A&R Studio, New York City, Rising Sun is his second studio album as a leader featuring the distinguished guest, the organist Dr Lonnie Smith !! Teruo has recruited for the nonce, some prestigious local musicians such as Steve Grossman, Carter Jefferson or Harry Whitaker, all members of his 'The Rising Sun Band', formed with the guitarist Shiro Mori. Rising Sun is a typical album of Jazz Funk played in the pure Herbie Hancock or Headhunters style, including  samba beats (Rising Sun), electronic grooves (Red Shoes) & even reggae flavor with Sweet Pea & Collard Greens.

Teruo Nakamura - 1973 - Unicorn

Teruo Nakamura

01. Unicorn Lady 5:12
02. Understanding 7:32
03. Some Other Blues 5:39
04. Umma Be Me 6:08
05. New Moon 8:21
06. Derrick's Dance 9:12

Recorded May 18 & June 8, 1973 at Sound Ideas Studio, New York, USA.

Bass, Electric Bass – Teruo Nakamura
Congas – Alvern Bunn (tracks: 1, 5, 6)
Cover – Atsuko Shibata
Drums – Al Mouzon (tracks: 2 to 4), Lenny White (tracks: 1, 5, 6)
Electric Piano – George Cables (tracks: 1, 5, 6), Hubert Eaves III (tracks: 3, 4)
Percussion – Keiji Kishida (tracks: 1, 2, 4 to 6), Ronald Jackson (tracks: 4)
Piano – Hubert Eaves III (tracks: 2), John Miller (3)
Soprano Saxophone – Steve Grossman (tracks: 1)
Trumpet – Charles Sullivan (tracks: 5, 6)
Vocals – Sandi Hewitt

Unicorn was bassist Teruo Nakamura's first date as a leader. Recorded and issued in Japan on the legendary Three Blind Mice imprint in 1973, Nakamura had been working in New York since 1964. He'd done a lot of hardscrabble work before 1969 when he landed the gig as bassist in Roy Haynes' fine group of the time. During that year he formed a band with Steve Grossman and Lenny White, who both appear here. This is an interesting date because it is equally divided between very electric fusion tracks and more modal acoustic numbers. Grossman plays on all but one cut; White appears on three. Other players include Alphonse Mouzon on three cuts (instead of White), George Cables on Rhodes, John Miller on acoustic piano, a young percussionist named Ronald Jackson (born Ronald Shannon Jackson), pianist Hubert Eaves III (later of D Train fame), trumpeter Charles Sullivan, vocalist Sandy Hewitt (on Eaves' "Understanding" and "Umma Be Me"). Nakamura plays acoustic upright bass on four tracks and electric on two others. The music is very much of its time, and though it is a session players gig, with rotating lineups, there is plenty of fire here. Grossman had already done his stint with Miles Davis and is in fine form on soprano (especially on the opening title cut), and tenor on John Coltrane's "Some Other Blues." White and Mouzon are both outstanding, so the drum chair is killer throughout, no matter who's playing, and Cables' Rhodes work on the Trane cut and "Derrick's Dance," written by Miller, is stellar. Nakamura, for his part, is more than an able bassist; he leads by guiding the rhythm and not standing out as a soloist.

Masayoshi Takanaka - 1976 - Seychelles

Masayoshi Takanaka 

01. Oh! Tengo Suerte 4:14
02. トーキョー レギー 4:20
03. 蜃気楼の島へ 3:37
04. 憧れのセーシェル諸島 6:07
05. Funkee Mah-Chan 5:00
06. サヨナラ...... Fuji さん 4:27
07. バードアイランド急行 3:43
08. Tropic Birds 8:49

Bass – Tsugutoshi Gotoh
Chorus – Yosui Inoue
Drums, Percussion – Tatsuo Hayashi
Keyboards – Hiroshi Imai
Lead Vocals, Chorus – Tan Tan
Percussion – Motoya Hamaguchi, Nobuo Saitoh
 Guitar, Lead Vocals – Masayoshi Takanaka
Saxophone – Jake H. Concepcion

I know very little about this album except for the relation with Sadistic Mika Band and Flied Egg, One of our visitors requested the album, so here it is. I hope someone can share some info on the guy with the rest of us.