is saxophonist Akira Sakata
's first piano duo recording in his forty-plus year career. The question this disc raises is not why did it take him so long to record in this format, but could another duo performance eclipse this one?
Sakata has been flag bearer of the Japanese free jazz movement since the 1970s. Recording first with pianist Yosuke Yamashita, then he was 'discovered' by bassist Bill Laswell
and he went on to record with Material, Last Exit, Mooko, Peter Kowald
. He has been featured with DJ Krush and become a favorite of guitarist Jim O'Rourke
and drummer Chris Corsano
. Their recordings And That's The Story Of Jazz...
(Family Vineyard, 2011) and Live At Hungry Brain
(Family Vineyard, 2011) with Devin Gray
are minor masterpieces.
The studio recording between Sakata and Italian pianist Giovanni Di Domenico self taught until age 24, yields ten improvised passages that mix concepts of Eastern and Western music and free jazz as if the pair were presenting musical koans. Iruman
opens with fragile and subtle piano and the ringing of bells as wind chimes. "Yellow Sand Blowing" mixes the skittering jerky alto of Sakata dancing over the raindrops of piano notes. Giovanni Di Domenico has the inclination to play notes that rely either on their immediacy or linger as memories of sound or, perhaps emotion. He plays with an outsider artist's take on classical music. The pair mix some thunderous piano against chanting on "Yamadera Ni Kikoyuru Koe/Voice from a Temple in the Deep Mountain" and dancing notes against the vocalization with "Papiruma." The music is in constant reinvention. The chamber jazz of "Tanbo Ni Mizu Ga Hairu/Water Coming Into Rice Field in the Spring" is juxtaposed against "Moe II/Bud II" an aggressive back-and-forth scuffle of notes that ultimately finds compromise in the pair's cooperation.
Personnel: Akira Sakata: alto sax, clarinet, voice, bells and shakers; Giovanni Di Domenico: piano.