Monday, 17 September 2018

VA ‎– Spiritual Jazz Vol.8 Japan: Parts I & II (2018)

Style: Modal, Contemporary Jazz, Avant-garde Jazz, Soul-Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Solid Records, Jazzman

1-1.   Mitsuaki Kanno - Kumo No Ito
1-2.   Tadao Hayashi - My Favorite Things
1-3.   Minoru Muraoka - Positive & Negative
1-4.   Takeo Moriyama - East Plants
1-5.   Koichi Matsukaze - Under Construction
1-6.   Sadao Watanabe & Charlie Mariano - Ragam Sinthubairavi
1-7.   Shungo Sawada - Footprint
1-8.   New Direction For The Arts - Sun In The East
2-1.   Four Units - Scarborough Fair
2-2.   Tohru Aizawa - Sacrament
2-3.   Keitaro Miho - Kikazaru
2-4.   Tee & Company - Spanish Flower
2-5.   Takeo Moriyama - Watarase
2-6.   Kiyoshi Sugimoto - Babylonia Wind
2-7.   Toshiko Akiyoshi - Kisarazu Zinku
2-8.   Yoshio Ikeda - Whispering Weeds

You wait years for a decent Japanese jazz compilation to arrive and several turn up at once. Stacked with enough lengthy modal jams to warrant two double-LP releases, this latest paean to the long-verdant eastern scene arrives hot on the heels of BBE’s recent superlative overview. 
Compiled by collector and DJ Yusuke Ogawa, it’s less rarity-heavy than its BBE sibling and several tracks will already be well-known to Western jazz fans. Minaro Muraoka’s DJ Shadow-approved Positive And Negative is one such crossover; its melding of Japanese shakuhachi flutes with groovy guitars and break-heavy drums a clever cross-pollination of east and west. 
Recognised names such as Sadao Watanabe (who, in partnership with Charlie Mariano, contributes the shimmering indo-jazz jaunt Ragam Sinthubairavi), alongside a number of Western standards such as Tadao Hayashi’s perky, harp-heavy, Coltrane-indebted My Favourite Things, give the compilation a broad appeal. Japanese jazz often seems to thrive over extended lengths and the sublime modal workouts of Mitsuaki Kanno’s Kumo No Ito, Tee & Company’s Spanish Flower and Kiyoshi Sugimoto’s Babylonia Wind use their elongated track times to successfully flesh out ideas and mine some brilliantly hypnotic grooves.
Paul Bowles / Record Collector