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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Akira Sakata - Friendly Pants (Family Vineyard, 2009) ****

Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata has been active on the free jazz scene for more than fourty years, with only limited exposure in international album releases. Now he performs in a trio with Chris Corsano on drums, and Darin Gray on bass, in a production of Jim O'Rourke. It's the kind of sax trio that is highly enjoyable, free in spirit, daringly emotional, both in the soft and violent passages, and bringing music with the same stylespan. Some of the pieces make you understand why he is easily connected to Brötzmann, because of the fierce energetic power of the Japanese, and the Corsano/Gray rhythm section is also at its best when all hell breaks loose, as in "In Case, Let's Go To Galaxy". But in stark contrast to this, the music can be gentle, sweet even, without using fixed patterns or rhythms, just letting it all flow quite meditatively and free, as on "Un", or finding the right level in between, in a kind of post-boppish mode, where the rhythm section does drive things forward, and Sakata plays the most beautiful melodic lines, as in "That Day Of Rain". This variation, together with his incredible skills, and the powerful rhythm section, makes the (re-)discovery of Sakata a real pleasure and joy for the ears. Let's hope it doesn't take another twenty years before his next album is available outside of Japan.

Watch the trio on a quieter piece on Youtube:

© stef


Anonymous said...

Even though I'm a Japanese, I didn't know him until reading this article. I wanna listen to his music and get his new album becasue I'm taking jazz class at college. I think the title in Japanese is funny and impressive.