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Rooster_Ties

Reissue: Shintaro Quintet, w/ Shunzo Ohno: Evolution (1984). Recorded in NYC, mostly Japanese expats. All solid originals, great soloing, a total classic.

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This used to only be available as a pricy Japanese import CD, but BBE recently put out a much, MUCH cheaper reissue that's available at Dusty for only $10.

https://www.dustygroove.com/item/966458  (only $10!)

https://www.discogs.com/release/8643274-Shintaro-Quintet-Evolution

https://bbemusic.bandcamp.com/album/evolution

  • Bass, Leader, Composer (all songs) – Shintaro Nakamura
  • Drums – Fukushi Tainaka
  • Piano – Jeff Jenkins
  • Tenor Saxophone – Robert Kenmotsu (American, 3rd generation born of Japanese immigrants from the west coast, iirc)
  • Trumpet – Shunzo Ohno

Here's an upload of the entire 43-minute album.  I've been enjoying this thing (the earlier reissue) for about 2 years, and now it's hard for me to hear the tunes and not think they're not all stone classics from 20 years earlier, every one of them.  And as a plus, everyone sounds like they were recorded in the same room (the SQ doesn't have any of that overly-antiseptic quality -- in fact, occasionally one of the horns falls off-mic a time or two briefly, but that only adds to how nicely it all sounds, far as I'm concerned.) 

Shunzo Ohno is especially fantastic, sounding every bit as exciting as Woody Shaw throughout (to hell with trying to manage expectations).  And the tenor player really shines too, imho.  Hell, the whole band does.

 

If you'd rather be able to access each of the tracks as separate YouTube uploads in a playlist, here's that...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KH0f5u8t8A&list=OLAK5uy_mM0N_N2LOV-8ISomq4fAYDPPoueswPJYc

Carpe diem!

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Excellent album -- been after an original for some time, may just have to settle for the reissue.

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OK, I just cracked open the new (cheap) BBE reissue, that I'd bought from Dusty to give to a friend (but now I'm thinking he may get my previous CD of this, which has everything in Japanese).  BECAUSE, this new BBE reissue has all new English liners, including brief interview segments with several of the original players -- and an English translation of the original liners too.

So, now I'm just reading that the leader -- the bass player, Shintaro Nakamura -- briefly played with Woody Shaw!  And the very last tune "A Blind Man" was specifically inspired by Shaw's writing (according to the original liners) -- and the title references Shaw's (then) vision problems.  Check out Shunzo Ohno's solo here at the 3:00 minute mark (I think I have this YouTube clip cued up to start right there).

The first I ever heard from this album, was "A Blind Man" from the first volume of this J-Jazz compilation series -- but this track is the very same one as is on the Evolution album.

I about dropped my teeth the first time I heard this track on the J-Jazz comp, thinking it was actually Woody Shaw.  This should cue to a few seconds before his (Ohno's) solo at the 3-minute mark...

 

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Well gosh golly, here’s the tenor-player, Bob Kenmotsu — with none other than our very own David Weiss, about 5 years ago…

 

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Ok, now THIS is the real deal… Footage of Bob Kenmotsu and Valery Ponomarev tearing it up at a jazz loft gig in 1987.

This video is introduced by Fukushi Tainaka, the drummer on this very Shintaro Quartet album — because this was the loft he lived in back in the late 80’s.

The footage starts a little after the 3:45 mark (I’m on my phone, or I’d more easily cue it up for you).

 

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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Ordered Evolution. Thanks!!

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Briefly tasted the youtube post, then immediately ordered mine from Amazon (Dusty Groove is sold out).  Thanks for the lead!

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Bob Kenmotsu released an album on Asian Improv, a label I’m very fond of. 

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11 hours ago, jcam_44 said:

Bob Kenmotsu released an album on Asian Improv, a label I’m very fond of. 

Here’s a good recent article on Kenmotsu — and apparently it was his first 1992 leader-date, The Spark, that was on Asian Improv.

https://www.berkeleyside.org/2019/07/11/blowing-the-blues-with-bob-kenmotsu

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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The liners indicate that this album was recorded in a low-budget studio that otherwise recorded mostly punk rock bands.  That the piano was very much in tune was probably a small miracle!  (I'm guessing it was an upright piano, but it doesn't particularly sound like it -- and I'd be curious what others here think.)

Everyone played in the same room, probably with a fairly straightforward, minimal mic-setup too — resulting in a very "live" sounding studio date.  The band rehearsed for one day (seeing the tunes for the first time), and then recorded over two days -- with no overdubs or editing (if the liners are to be believed).

It's a real shame this group didn't record again.  This is a 5-star album, in my book.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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10 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Here’s a good recent article on Kenmotsu — and apparently it was his first 1992 leader-date, The Spark, that was on Asian Improv.

https://www.berkeleyside.org/2019/07/11/blowing-the-blues-with-bob-kenmotsu

Very interesting how the article talks about The Spark. I personally own it but have not played it much due to its straight forward sound as opposed to most Asian Improv releases. Very nice to read about his experience, and how it relates to this release. 

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On 1/27/2022 at 0:16 PM, Rooster_Ties said:

Well gosh golly, here’s the tenor-player, Bob Kenmotsu — with none other than our very own David Weiss, about 5 years ago…

 

I didn't know this existed (or that it was recorded). This was one of a few gigs I did in the Bay Area with the drummer Danny Spencer of Kenny Cox and the Contemporary Jazz Quintet fame. As for the video from Fuku's loft, the drummer is Jo Jones Jr., Papa Jo's son and the bass player is Don Moore who is the bass player on that Joe Henderson recording from the Monterey Jazz Festival with Bobby Hutcherson and Elvin Jones. This was around the time I moved back to New York and this was the scene I walked into. I played with these guys often. Fuku had a steady Saturday night as well that turned into a jam session where I cut my teeth often....

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1 hour ago, david weiss said:

As for the video from Fuku's loft, the drummer is Jo Jones Jr., Papa Jo's son and the bass player is Don Moore who is the bass player on that Joe Henderson recording from the Monterey Jazz Festival with Bobby Hutcherson and Elvin Jones.

Interesting! Did you play-with/know Bob Kenmotsu back in the 80’s any too? (Or any of the other players from this Shintaro Quintet album, for that matter?)

And David, speaking on Don Moore, have you (or has anyone?) ever heard the rest of that short probably 30-minute set by Joe/Bobby/Elvin/Don-Moore? Beyond just this one track. Somewhere around here I posted all the details (only 3 tunes, iirc, but the titles are known). But does the entire performance circulate at all?

 

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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3 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Interesting! Did you play-with/know Bob Kenmotsu back in the 80’s any too? (Or any of the other players from this Shintaro Quintet album, for that matter?)

And David, speaking on Don Moore, have you (or has anyone?) ever heard the rest of that short probably 30-minute set by Joe/Bobby/Elvin/Don-Moore? Beyond just this one track. Somewhere around here I posted all the details (only 3 tunes, iirc, but the titles are known). But does the entire performance circulate at all?

I knew Bob a little from the late '80s and had the Bay Area guys invite him to this gig based on that memory. As I stated above, I played with Fuku, the drummer quite a bit back then as well, sitting in on his gig.

I have heard the whole Joe Henderson show, it's great of course. I thought we had a path towards releasing it with another Joe Henderson show but that didn't come to fruition. 

If the other show is ever released (it's a monster but I can't talk about it at all) you'll see what I mean.

Hopefully there will be another way someday.....

All the Monterey tapes are housed at Stanford University and I believe are available to listen to....

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