A brilliant set from Japanese pianist Masabumi Kikuchi – two long, leaping, loping tracks that almost feel like some of McCoy Tyner's best work! Kikuchi plays acoustic piano, and the group's a quartet with Terumasu Hino on trumpet, Koshuke Mine on tenor, Eric Gravatt on drums, and Juni Booth playing some really wonderful bass. Booth's bass leads the tracks with a soulful quality that you don't always hear on Kikuchi's other work – really giving the record a strongly-rooted vibe, while the musicians are still free to really open up and explore. The album's tracks, "East Wind" and "Green Dance", are both excellent examples of the soulful freedoms allowed in the Japanese scene of the 70s – side-long numbers that are different both from contemporary performances on both the US and European scenes of the period.
Reissue with DSD remastering. A real lost treasure from trumpeter Terumasa Hino – a warm and wonderful live set, and one that's neither too free, nor too smooth – just perfectly set up right down the middle to open up on these beautiful long performances! The lineup is all Japanese – a great array of players that includes Shigeharu Mukai on trombone, Hideo Miyata on tenor, Sadao Watanabe on alto sax, Motohiko Hino on drums, and Fumio Itabashi on Fender Rhodes – part of a slightly larger ensemble who can be tight at times, but still allow plenty of room for open freedom on the solos. Hino's only part of the picture, as the other soloists get in some great space too – and the set includes the 23 minute groover "Logical Mystery", the long soulful original "In The Darkness", and a sweet mellow take on "Round Midnight".
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. An aggressive bit of funky fusion – a set that matches the talents of Japanese trumpeter Shunzoh Ohno with some hip American grooves from Reggie Lucas on guitar, Cedric Lawson on keyboards, Don Pate on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums! The sound is very full-on – in a mid 70s Miles Davis electric mode, but with perhaps a bit more of a funk touch on the best cuts – almost a refinement of the groove that Miles hit in Japan, fusing the energy into some great tunes that really pack a sharp punch! Haynes' drums are surprisingly heavy at points – and titles include "You Dig That?", "But It's Not So", and "I Remember That It Happened".
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. The intimate nature of the title is very apt on this one – as the album features spare duets between drummer Masahiko Togashi and other Japanese musicians – including the great Sadao Watanabe on flute, and either Masahiko Satoh and Masabumi Kikuchi on piano! The sound is open, and sometimes a bit free – but in a way that's very inventive, and never too overpowering – as Togashi finds a way to really keep things grounded, and work in the best collaborative spirit with each musician. A real standout on the East West catalog of the 70s – and titles include "Haze", "Fairy Tale", "Song For Myself", and "Song For My Friends".
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Fine flowing modal music from Mine and his crew (a crack team of the usual j-jazz suspects) from back in '74. This was one of Mine's first outings after switching from alto to tenor and definitely one of his best ever. Also one of the first albums on the very righteous East Wind label. The stately lyrical second track (by Kikuchi) is a standout here, sandwiched between the two high-power numbers penned by Mine. The concept for the cover art is questionable (red gloop as a representation of chaos? Or maybe the art director used this image because s/he was clean out of chaos?). But when it comes to the music, there's nothing lacking here whatsoever!
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. This exciting live set by Art Farmer is also culled from the same 1976 performances as the earlier album Live at Boomer's. Although the full quintet had not rehearsed prior to the engagement with Clifford Jordan (the rhythm section, consisting of Cedar Walton, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins, had been working together with Farmer for over a year), the sparks fly as they stretch out on each of the four tracks present.
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. A pretty great little fusion set from saxophonist Sam Morrison – as slinky, sloping, and seductive as the title – and a record that might have been right at home on CTI! The album features all original tunes by Morrison – played with a very cool group that includes Al Foster on drums, Buster Williams on bass, Mike Wolf on Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano, and Ryo Kawasaki on guitar. Morrison shifts effortlessly between soprano, flute, and tenor – working in a mode that's choppy, but never too over the top – dancing along in a lyrical, soulful mode! Titles include "Wonder", "Dune", "Song Of Landa", and "I Knew It Right Away".
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Gently graceful work from Art Farmer – and a wonderful example of the way he was expanding his talents in the 70s! The set's got a slow burning sensuality that seems to bring even more soul out of Farmer's work on flugelhorn than before – especially on the mellower cuts, which seem especially written as showcases for Art's masterful examples of understatement. But don't go thinking that the album's all ballads, because with a rhythm section that includes Cedar Walton, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins, the tracks move along nicely, even when in a gentler mode. Titles include "The Summer Knows", "Ditty", "Manha Do Carnaval", and "When I Fall In Love".
Reissue with the latest DSD remastering. Although flugelhornist Art Farmer permanently moved to Europe in 1968, he has returned many times to the United States to play. For this live LP (recorded for East Wind and released domestically by the defunct Inner City label), Farmer joins up with tenor-saxophonist Clifford Jordan, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Billy Higgins for lengthy versions of Charlie Parker's blues "Barbados," "I Remember Clifford," "'Round Midnight" and "Will You Still Be Mine." The group had not rehearsed beforehand but rehearsals were not really needed for these hard bop veterans and even an uptempo version of the ballad "Will You Still Be Mine" comes off quite well.