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Japanese Jazz

124 posts in this topic

32 minutes ago, mjazzg said:

And there I was thinking Haino as we are in a Japan Jazz thread...

That's what happened the first time Heino came up, a few pages ago.

Then Heino made a comeback when discussing music to clear a party.

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Bringing things (at least momentarily) back on topic ... fans of Japanese Jazz need to hear this album:

R-1360293-1569684221-2021.jpeg.jpg

Jazz Orchestra '73

If this album were a cocktail (of influences), then the mixture might be, in nearly equal parts:

• Sun Ra
• Charles Mingus
• Woody Herman
• Toshiko Akiyoshi
• Henry Threadgill (possibly)

Terumasa Hino has some standout solos. 

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From Heino back to Hino. 

It looks really interesting from your description. I'll definitely check it out.

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3 hours ago, Late said:

Bringing things (at least momentarily) back on topic ... fans of Japanese Jazz need to hear this album:

R-1360293-1569684221-2021.jpeg.jpg

Jazz Orchestra '73

If this album were a cocktail (of influences), then the mixture might be, in nearly equal parts:

• Sun Ra
• Charles Mingus
• Woody Herman
• Toshiko Akiyoshi
• Henry Threadgill (possibly)

Terumasa Hino has some standout solos. 

The followup album, Jazz Orchestra '75, is a fun listen, too.

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3 hours ago, Rabshakeh said:

From Heino back to Hino. 

 

via Haino, this is becoming the alternative "Name three people"  thread

3 hours ago, Late said:

Bringing things (at least momentarily) back on topic ... fans of Japanese Jazz need to hear this album:

R-1360293-1569684221-2021.jpeg.jpg

Jazz Orchestra '73

If this album were a cocktail (of influences), then the mixture might be, in nearly equal parts:

• Sun Ra
• Charles Mingus
• Woody Herman
• Toshiko Akiyoshi
• Henry Threadgill (possibly)

Terumasa Hino has some standout solos. 

Really enjoying this one, thanks or posting

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7 hours ago, Rabshakeh said:

It looks really interesting from your description. I'll definitely check it out.

:tup Just click on that YouTube link (above) and let it spin ...

It's currently available at CD Japan and Dusty Groove (and likely many other places as well). 1500¥.

The opening of the first track reminds me of The Solar Myth Approach. Later on there's definitely a Mingus vibe. 

3 hours ago, mjazzg said:

Really enjoying this one, thanks for posting.

:tup:party:

3 hours ago, B. Clugston said:

The followup album, Jazz Orchestra '75, is a fun listen, too.

I haven't heard that one! Must.

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19 hours ago, Late said:

Bringing things (at least momentarily) back on topic ... fans of Japanese Jazz need to hear this album:

R-1360293-1569684221-2021.jpeg.jpg

Jazz Orchestra '73

If this album were a cocktail (of influences), then the mixture might be, in nearly equal parts:

• Sun Ra
• Charles Mingus
• Woody Herman
• Toshiko Akiyoshi
• Henry Threadgill (possibly)

Terumasa Hino has some standout solos. 

This is really good.

Kenji Mōri is fantastic.

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1 hour ago, Rabshakeh said:

This is really good.

Kenji Mōri is fantastic.

:tup Yes!!!

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On 5/7/2021 at 1:29 PM, Rabshakeh said:

One artist who appears rarely on this forum is Masahiko Satoh. 

He's one of those musicians from Japan who flowered in the 70s and 80s across styles and who, as a result, left a fairly inaccessible discography that I have never known where to start with.

Have you heard Trinity?

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It's a good record, though (for my own taste) I think Favre overplays. There are a few smaller cymbals that he just won't leave alone. Still, the overall vibe of the album makes it worth hearing/owning. It was recently reissued in Japan (on compact disc). "Trinity"

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15 minutes ago, Late said:

 

It's a good record, though (for my own taste) I think Favre overplays. There are a few smaller cymbals that he just won't leave alone. Still, the overall vibe of the album makes it worth hearing/owning. It was recently reissued in Japan (on compact disc). "Trinity"

Thanks! I shall check it out.

I do know what you mean about Favre. He seriously overembellishes. Sometimes it works nicely I think, like on that Intakt duo he did with Irene Schweizer, but it can get a bit much. Overall, I still see his presence on a record as a draw.

Meanwhile, I am currently listening to this unbelievable record:

R-1210602-1350166559-4555.jpeg.jpg

Not Japanese of course (although Takada Midori is on it). But then nor was Heino. It is incredibly good anyway. 

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17 minutes ago, Rabshakeh said:

Meanwhile, I am currently listening to this unbelievable record:

R-1210602-1350166559-4555.jpeg.jpg

Not Japanese of course (although Takada Midori is on it). But then nor was Heino. It is incredibly good anyway. 

Don't know that one — I will have to check it out!

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2 minutes ago, Late said:

Don't know that one — I will have to check it out!

I think someone on here recommended it too me in a post about Korean free improv and jazz which I can no longer find. To whoever it was - Thank you!

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Yeah, it's excellent. There are a few volumes of his work in the NoBusiness Chap Chap series as well. My understanding is that he played a lot in Japan and may have lived there as well (can't remember). I know I got my copy of Korean Free Music from a Japanese seller years ago and I feel like a lot of copies ended up there.

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3 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

What looks to be a nice and recent article I just stumbled on (just seconds ago, I haven't had the chance to read it yet).

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/jan/12/how-japan-created-its-own-jazz

 

Good article.  I can't help but feel uncomfortable with the rhythmic aspects of Japanese jazz, but I wonder if people overseas find it exotic and appealing in the opposite way. I feel that both European and Japanese musicians approached free jazz in order to solve the rhythm conundrum.

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2 hours ago, mhatta said:

Good article.  I can't help but feel uncomfortable with the rhythmic aspects of Japanese jazz, but I wonder if people overseas find it exotic and appealing in the opposite way. I feel that both European and Japanese musicians approached free jazz in order to solve the rhythm conundrum.

There’s a series of “J Jazz” compilations that have come out recently, covering artists like Suzuki Isao, Mine Kosuke and Kikuchi Masabumi. They are excellent compilations, but they do trade a little bit on Western perceptions of Japanese cool.  I think that the article references the compilations; it is clearly based on them. 

I never had a problem with the rhythmic side of Japanese jazz in the way that I do with e.g. 1950s European jazz. I think that reflects the fact that a lot of what comes into our view as overseas listeners is either avant (the first Japanese jazz musician I even heard of was Abe Kaoru), or heavily influenced by Coltrane and Miles Davis’ modal and early electric periods. In both, those rhythmic issues are not so apparent.

I find it interesting how this particular class of Japanese players burrowed so deep into In A Silent Way, Bitches Brew and My Favorite Things. Those are obviously classic albums, but not ones that actually set the tone for that much American jazz, at least not quite as directly. It means that there’s something fresh and interesting on them, helped by the very strong playing of players like Mine.

I guess you could say a similar thing for the British jazz of the era and it’s burrowing into Gil Evans and Davis’ Second Quartet, on the one side, and jazz rock on the other. 

Regardless, the more exposure, the better. There have been some really excellent compilations and reissue campaigns recently covering Japan, Britain, South Africa and France. From social media, it is clear that this is cutting through. I hope this continues.

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I thought the article read a little like a long advert for the "J Jazz" series but then maybe I'm feeling a bit cynical...and no mention of Togashi at all

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Haven't had any issues with the rhythmic aspects that make it impossible to listen to the music. Some drummers are better than others of course, and there are really wonderful drummers in Japanese jazz, both of the free and less free variety -- George Otsuka, George Kawaguchi, Motohiko Hino, Masahiko Togashi, Takeshi Inomata, Sabu Toyozumi, Takeo Moriyama, Hiroshi Yamazaki, Shota Koyama... just to name a few from the glory days of Japanese creative music.

The J-Jazz comps are neat. I don't own any but I like the idea of them and the guys assembling these albums are very knowledgable and have incredible collections. The only downside is that the cost of obtaining original full LPs keeps going up, up, and away as more people learn about them.

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7 hours ago, clifford_thornton said:

The only downside is that the cost of obtaining original full LPs keeps going up, up, and away as more people learn about them.

Very true. But it always happens. Everywhere.

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On 14/01/2022 at 5:31 AM, mhatta said:

Good article.  I can't help but feel uncomfortable with the rhythmic aspects of Japanese jazz

Why uncomfortable?

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19 hours ago, Bluesnik said:

Very true. But it always happens. Everywhere.

yep. 

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21 hours ago, Rabshakeh said:

Why uncomfortable?

 

It is difficult to explain in words, but I think that the handling of rhythm has always been a difficulty in Japanese jazz. I may be biased.

I personally like the rhythms of American black jazz, which are based on afterbeats and have a natural, somewhat loose groove. I think Japanese (and European) jazz musicians have not been able to digest it well, at least until relatively recently. As a result, the rhythms tended to be stiff or "overly" precise.

It's not that their musicianship was inferior. It's just that there was (is) something uncomfortable about it for stubborn jazz listeners like me.  This was especially a problem with the orthodox hard bop-based style, which tended to be the case with the people featured in J-Jazz, who were mainly active in Japan. The people who were active internationally had developed more individuality than that, but they were still different in some way. Or, I think they approached free jazz because of that.

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8 hours ago, mhatta said:

It is difficult to explain in words, but I think that the handling of rhythm has always been a difficulty in Japanese jazz. I may be biased.

I personally like the rhythms of American black jazz, which are based on afterbeats and have a natural, somewhat loose groove. I think Japanese (and European) jazz musicians have not been able to digest it well, at least until relatively recently. As a result, the rhythms tended to be stiff or "overly" precise.

It's not that their musicianship was inferior. It's just that there was (is) something uncomfortable about it for stubborn jazz listeners like me.  This was especially a problem with the orthodox hard bop-based style, which tended to be the case with the people featured in J-Jazz, who were mainly active in Japan. The people who were active internationally had developed more individuality than that, but they were still different in some way. Or, I think they approached free jazz because of that.

Thank you. That makes sense. 

I think that I agree, particularly for bop and hard bop.

I also struggle a little with the melodic/harmonic material, which feels “learned” to me. When I listen to the London musicians from the hard bop era, their playing, especially on blues, sounds a little artificial. It is like the difference between fresh orange juice and rehydrated concentrate.

My own tastes for non-American jazz really starts with 1968, with the post bop and free eras.

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