Thursday, 27 March, 2008

Otomo Yoshihide New Jazz Quintet - Live in Lisbon feat. Mats Gustafsson

"Like Ken Vandermark, Yoshihide is a player well versed in free jazz, canonical works. This concert date finds his regular quintet in the company of frequent Vandermark confrere Mats Gustafsson and the Swedish saxophonist plants a nest of primed blasting caps under the band’s already explosive chassis. The set opens to the strains of a rousing rendition of “Song for Che”, Gustafsson leading the charge with a rising Brötzmannian tenor blast and the rest of the ensemble soon following him in the collective vertical leap. Bassist Mizutani Hiroaki’s bass strings braid a resonant harmonic bass and the rhapsodic emancipatory overtones of the Charlie Haden classic come through in full bloom. It’s coupled in medley form with Yoshihide’s own “Reducing Agent”, a guitar-monopolizing freak-out that shows him hardly reticent in indulging his inner-Haino and Sharrock with swathes of roiling distortion and feedback. Drummer Yoshigaki Yasuhiro, who doubles on trumpet later in the program, also assumes an integral role the action with an arena-style workout at his kit. Also on the docket, canny covers of Dolphy’s “Serene”, here retooled as a gradually building tone canvas broken by several interludes into lopsided swing, and Jim O’Rourke’s “Eureka”, an anthemic piece that blends folk forms and textured sound collages with balladic grace to a crescendoing release. But the disc’s centerpiece is a 22-minute version of Yoshihide’s own “Flutter”, a cousin to Coleman’s “Lonely Woman”, where Gustafsson once again earns the right to consideration as potential permanent addition to the band. With this disc as reliable yardstick, I fully intend on tapping the wallet for ingress into Yoshihide’s earlier efforts. Derek Taylor

"From the heavy sampled madness of both his electronic music and the group Ground Zero, in which he mixed his love of jazz and rock and dealed with an overdose of sound information, Otomo Yoshihide turned minimal, reducing the materials to the essential. When he came to Portugal in 2004 to play in the Jazz em Agosto festival, he showed that in two gigs. With the Canadian turntablist Martin Tétreault he used his decks without records, only manipulating the pickups and the needles with paper, rubber and metal round surfaces, forging a brutal noise music with very little. And with the New Jazz Quintet he used an electric guitar not to phrase, not to play chords, but to produce controlled feedbacks. That’s what we hear in “Live in Lisbon”, the (partial) recording of that memorable concert, the last of this group before he converted it to an ensemble of eight instrumentalists.

Similarly to what characterizes the Otomo Yoshihide New Jazz Ensemble and the Otomo Yoshihide New Jazz Orchestra, this quintet with Mats Gustafsson as special guest performed covers of great jazz tunes by the likes of Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and Charlie Haden, among other be bop and free jazz standards, adding to the repertoire a pop song (“Eureka”, by Jim O’Rourke, was a common choice, and it’s still used by the present orchestra) and Otomo’s own compositions. Some of those unorthodox interpretations are documented in this fantastic CD that gives us the opportunity to listen with more time and focus to the very special virtues of someone like the alto saxophonist Tsugami Kenta, who deserves a wider recognition. It’s very fulfilling and fun to follow him in open and free situations with his Paul Desmond / Lee Konitz stylings, as it is to catch Gustafsson in a context in which he has to moderate his expressionistic impetus. This means you shouldn’t miss this album, ‘cause you’ll certainly find things that you don’t even imagined possible".

Mats Gustafsson - tenor and bariton sax
Mizutani Hiroaki - bass
Otomo Yoshihide - electric guitar
Tsugami Kenta - alto sax
Yoshigaki Yasuhiro - drums, trumpet

1. Song for Che (Charlie Haden) / Reducing Agent (Otomo Yoshihide)
2. Serene (Eric Dolphy)
3. Flutter (Otomo Yoshihide)
4. Eureka (Jim O'Rourke)

Recorded in Lisbon, August 2004. Released by Clean Feed in 2006



caldanitbrad said...

I like music that does not use pretentious silence or blaring anarchy to induce "musical statements" which afford no real music, to my ears. This recording sounds promising.

Thanks for the exposure.

Anonymous said...

I've seen these guys some years ago, minus Gustafsson, and I was mind-blown by their passionate and intense musicianship. With Gustafsson this record must be heaven.
Many thanks my friend for the impressive blog you run here, I wull come more often

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