Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Akira Tana & Otonowa: Ai San San: Love's Radiance

Nicholas F. Mondello By

Sign in to view read count
Ai San San: Love's Radiance is musical transformation of the highest caliber. It employs traditional and contemporary Japanese melodies and molds them into a marvelously arranged and performed jazz album. Traditional Japanese instruments enhance textural dimension.

The opener, "Antagata Dakosa," is vaguely reminiscent of Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue" and is a terrific straight-ahead burner that kicks in hard after Masaru Koga's muscular tenor saxophone calls. Noriyuki Ken Okada's gorgeous bass sings the melody of the title track over arpeggiated piano, taiko drum, and Kago's shakuhachi fluting. "Hinokuni Ryono" is a slower, triple-metered gem that ripples with folkish melancholy. The kato cries to open "Habu No Minato" and moves into an exotically sonorous piano and soprano saxophone tango-throwback groove. "Mura Matsui" is an animated "St. Thomas" calypso clone send-up to Sonny Rollins. "Hamabe No Uta," traditionally-flavored, longs for home.

If one were not aware of the fact that original Japanese themes present and past are the primary foundation of things here, the performance—a brilliant one—would stand on its own. There isn't an ounce of forced or disingenuous transposition. It is genuine and excellent. There's intense collaboration and focus., i.e., "Summer -Theme from Kikujiru No Natsu" and the John Coltrane-Miles Davis hat-tip cooker, "Taiyo No Hoero." Percussionists Tana and Endo are superb on "Tsunagareta Tairyo-bata" -a 12/8 amalgam of traditional folk songs -before fine Hirahara and Okada solos. Horace Silver's "Peace" is re-imagined and a perfectly intense closer to this superior session.

Ai San San: Love's Radiance is marvelous music performed by outstanding jazz musicians, a tour de force of textural beauty, mystery and the Japanese paradox of simplicity and complexity.

Track Listing: Antagata Dokosa; Ai San San: Hinokuni Ryojo; Habu No minatu; Mura Matsui; Hamabe No Uta; Natsu; Taiyo Ni Hoero; Tsunagareta Tairyo-bata; Kando; Peace.

Personnel: Otonowa: Masaru Koga: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, shakuhachi; Art Hirahara: piano; Noriyuki Ken Okada: bass; Akira Tana: drum set, fan drums, bongos (10); Shoko Hikage: koto (4); Kenny Endo: taiko and percussion (2, 4, 7-9, 11); Tetsuya Tatsumi: cornet (9).

Title: Ai San San: Love's Radiance | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Vega Music USA


comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019
Read Music! Music! Music! Album Reviews
Music! Music! Music!
By Doug Collette
May 20, 2019
Read Sheer Reckless Abandon Album Reviews
Sheer Reckless Abandon
By John Kelman
May 19, 2019
Read Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z Album Reviews
Gratitude: Stage Door Live @ the Z
By Jack Bowers
May 19, 2019
Read To My Brothers Album Reviews
To My Brothers
By Victor L. Schermer
May 19, 2019