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ONJQ Live

Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Quintet

℗ 2002

℗ 2013 barin.livejournal.com BR LLI 86911

Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Quintet • 2002 • ONJQ Live

Although he had always expressed a reverence and knowledge of jazz, it still came as something of a surprise when Otomo Yoshihide, he of the abstract turntable explosions, sine wave studies, and earthshaking clamor (in bands like Ground Zero), formed a relatively traditional jazz ensemble, peppering its repertoire with hidden classics from the '60s. The disc begins with Wayne Shorter's 'Swee-Pea,' lovingly caressed at first and then stretched like taffy until it merges with Yoshihide's own 'There,' strained through a free jazz maelstrom on the way. Yoshihide is uniquely able to bring to bear lessons he's learned along the way from various sources, injecting a much-needed boost of vitality into a jazz scene that had (even on the free side) for too long been willing to simply regurgitate approaches by past masters. Tenor saxophonist Kikuchi Naruyoshi summons the spirit of the youthful Gato Barbieri, with all the fire and passion (and none of the later schmaltz), supplemented by a knowledge of, for example, the Tokyo onkyo scene, giving his playing a crucial new facet. Ripping through Yoshihide's 'Flutter,' there are clear aural references to the sort of sounds that normally issue from an Apple G3. And the composer's own solo on the piece, full of ear-shredding guitar feedback, rips the roof off the place. 'Hat and Beard' is given a relatively straight reading, altoist Tsugami Kenta in very Dolphy-esque form on his solo, Yoshihide (after some tasteful comping) going in an overtly harsh, anti-swing direction, chopping the melody into rough, bite-size bits. The quintet closes with an inspired choice of a cover, Jim O'Rourke's 'Eureka.' They seize on the lovely, plangent melody and wring it for all it's worth, ultimately ending in a similar drone pattern that Yoshihide used on the great Ground Zero album Consume Red, O'Rourke's theme substituting for Kim Seok Chul's ecstatic hojok playing. New Jazz Quintet Live is a huge advance over the previous two recordings (though each of those showed signs of the potential realized here) and stands as one of Yoshihide's most successful projects. Highly recommended to both fans of his previous work as well as to avant-garde jazz listeners seeking that elusive 'something new'.

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