One of the most soulful sessions we've ever heard from Japanese pianist Masabumi Kikuchi – a brilliant quintet outing that features some really great work on tenor and soprano sax! Kikuchi's piano is usually enough to grab our attention, but the album's got a great added bonus in the presence of Kosuke Mine on soprano sax and Hideo Miyata on tenor – both players whose horns bring in some added sharpness to the date, and further underscore the spiritual elements in Kikuchi's music – almost with the same mix of reeds and driving rhythms you'd find in the post-Coltrane work of Elvin Jones. Titles include "Green Dance", "Bell", "Admire But Destest", "Gin Kai", and "Drizzling Rain".
Pianist Masabumi Kikuchi joins drummer Elvin Jones in a really great trio date – one that draws extra power from the mighty bass of Gene Perla, whose soulful tones help push the music along strongly! The Jones/Perla combination is always great, but it seems to take on a whole new level of sensitivity in the presence of Kikuchi – showing more sense of space to allow Masabumi's piano some great placement in the date, yet without any of the "hollowed out" modes you might guess from the title. Perla can be bold one minute, very subtle the next – and his presence is always appreciated on the record, making us wish he'd recorded more with Kikuchi over the years. Titles include "Apple", "Ginkai", "Little Abi", "Bell", and "Hollow Out".
An excellent album – and one of Joe Henderson's boldest sets from the early 70s! The record features Joe working with a hip group of young Japanese players that includes Terumasa Hino on trumpet and Masabumi Kikuchi on piano and electric piano – and the sextet format of the session stretches way past Joe's other Japanese recording from the time, which was issued in the US on Milestone. This one features very long tracks, with tremendous intensity from both the group and Joe, who's got a real edginess to his playing here. Includes a version of "So What", plus the originals "Sunrise In Tokyo" and "Get Magic Again".
A set that definitely lives up to the poetry promised in its title – with none of the too-clean sounds you might guess from its hand-washing reference either! The album's one of the freest, most organic sessions we've heard from pianist Masabumi Kikuchi – almost improvised at points, but with a poetic cohesion in the piano lines that's really great – kind of an offbeat sense of lyricism that points in the same directions that Steve Kuhn or Keith Jarrett were heading in the late 60s. Drummer Masahiko Togashi plays lots of cool percussion and even a bit of gong – and Gary Peacock's bass here is as great as on any of his other excellent Japanese recordings. Titles include "Dreams", "The Trap", "The Milky Way", "Apple", "Get Magic Again", and "End".
Heavy electric piano from Masabumi Kikuchi – played here on two side-long tracks that really stretch out! The album's a live one, and features Kikuchi working with a sextet – a great lineup that features soprano sax, bass, and drums – plus some added organ and keyboards next to Masabumi's own keyboards – especially nice on one track that also features piano! There's a sensitivity to these tunes that's wonderful – a hint at the straighter Japanese trio mode that would dominate later in the 70s, but played with some of the best boldness that scene was bringing to its work at the start of the decade. Titles are both originals – "Yellow Carcass In The Blue" and "Dancing Mist" – both with a sound as evocative as their titles!
A brilliant album by Hozan Yamamoto – a flute player with a great ear for mixing traditional sounds and modern jazz! The set's a suite of sorts – performed by a cool quartet with Yamamoto on bamboo flute, plus Masabumi Kikuchi on piano, Gary Peacock on bass, and Hiroshi Murakami on drums – all with a rich sense of poetry and feeling, that newly expressive sound that Japanese jazz hit as the 70s approached! Yamamoto's flute work alone is worth the price of admission – but alongside Kikuchi's well-timed (and toned) piano lines, and Peacock's roundly sensitive bass, the instrument is even more brilliant – heard on tracks that include "Silver World", "Stone Garden Of Ryoan Temple", "A Heavy Shower", and "Sawanose".
Masabumi Kikuchi plays some really great electric piano here – often using the album with loud, bold tones that lie somewhere between Joe Zawinul's work with Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis! The album's an extremely sweet electric side from the Japanese keyboardist – and it also features great work on reeds from Kosuke Mine, who plays both alto and soprano sax on the set – the latter with a wonderfully soulful, lyrical tone. Other players include Motohiko Hino on drums and Hideo Ichikawa on additional electric piano and organ – and titles include "Dancing Mist", "Thanatos", "Yellow Carcass In The Sun", "EJ", "My Companion", and "Puzzle Ring".
A key example of why the Japanese scene was so great at the start of the 70s – really mindblowing work from keyboardist Masabumi Kikuchi, and every bit as wonderful as some of our favorite American sides from the time! Kikuchi acoustic piano with a warmly soulful sensitivity – alongside the Fender Rhodes of Masahiro Kikuchi, who has a hard-edged sound that almost takes off from Joe Zawinul's use of the instrument, then soars into even mightier territory. The style is somewhat loose at times, but never too free – and the group here is a sextet that also includes amazing alto from Kosuke Mine – an excellent player who's never gotten his due on this side of the Pacific. Titles include "Love Token", "Tenacious Prayer Forever", "Roaming In Darkness", "Young Bloods", and "Piece To Peace".