Thursday 22 June 2023

Posted by Gerry Hectic | File under : , , ,

There's been many great performances unearthed by the J-Jazz team of Tony 'Jazz Dad' Higgins and Mike Peden, but how they'd loved to have been at Lovely to have heard the Takeo Moriyama Quartet live in December of 1990.

And we know that because BBE have (re)issued what was once a Japan only CD release (1991) as the latest in the J-Jazz series as a special remastered double vinyl edition with translated sleeve notes and new sleeve notes by Tony.

The five tracks log in at just over an hour but what an explosive gig it was with Moriyama (d), Toshihiko Inoue (ts), Hideaki Mochizuki (b) and Fumio Itabashi (p); Itabashi composed all the tracks apart from the standard, 'Hush-A-Bye'.

Needless to say that all these guys can play.  Moriyama has had albums released where he's played with jazz names as varied as Mal Waldron, Takehiro Honda and Peter Br√∂tzmann so there's nothing he can't do style wise.

Appropriately in the week of the longest day, the album opens with 'Sunrise' which put some extra power post-bop into your solar panels; it's heavier that a Stonehedge stone circle: Itabashi drops some Keith Jarrett as Inoue goes off planet with some modal spiritualism.  It's fantastic and it's somewhat of a relief after 14 minutes there is some gentle tones of 'Watarase' which was originally recorded on Moriyama's 1981 album 'Smile' (when he had two sax players) and turned up on a Jazzman Spiritual Jazz compilation a few years ago.   This live version is twice as long and like a Wayne Shorter in Japan lotus blossom.

But what can you say about the 20 minutes masterpiece that is 'Exchange'?  Moriyama's got an mixture of Art Blakey swing/Bill Ward villain/Kyoto Drum Ensemble with a touch of Chick Corea's 'Spain' thrown in, all on speed at a free-style jazzdance; it'd play it in the dance tent.

Even 'Hush-A-Bye' which I'd normally not bother with is given a deeper depth as there's an urgent swing going on for 10 minutes as they all take a bow.

This release which is somewhat encapsulated with the cover photograph; Takeo and drums that are half in light and half dark with a bit of a facial grimace on just before he's about to explode which is a bit like the track they finish off with, 'Good bye'.  And whilst we're never going to see December 1990 again, we can all party like it's 1991 with this massive re-issue.


Artist: Takeo Moriyama

Title: Contrast

Release date: 23rd June, 2023

Label : BBE Music

Catalog Number : BBE671 LP  Order from Bandcamp 



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