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Masayuki Takayanagi: Angry Waves Vol.1&2

Nicola Negri By

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Jinya Disc continues to explore the unissued recordings of Masayuki Takayanagi, one of the most original guitarists of the excellent Japanese free jazz scene, active from the 1950s until his untimely passing in 1991. This time we have a live recording (split in two CDs) of a 1984 show by the aptly named Angry Waves trio, with Nobuyoshi Ino on bass and Hiroshi Yamazaki on drums, both on the forefront of Tokyo's free music scene and habitual collaborators of Takayanagi. The recording comes from the guitarist's private tapes, and even if the sound quality is a little rough, the music is so good to make one forget about any hi-fi shortcomings.

These CDs show a rarely documented side of Takayanagi's career, a trait d'union between the extreme sonic experiments commonly associated with him and his other more traditional jazz activities. In this case there is a strong connection to Afro-American free jazz, and in particular to the sound world of Albert Ayler, whose tunes are referenced in half the titles, even if the original themes, when they actually appear, provide just a loose melodic and harmonic frame in which the musicians move freely. But Ayler's typical fervor and expressive urgency can still be traced in the way the trio approaches the performance, with pieces that conform to familiar jazz structures just to negate them with displaced heads and simultaneous improvisations. Takayanagi's guitar takes center stage with a sharp, powerful sound, carefully kept this side of noise with elegance and unusual restraint, while the rhythm section supports him with a kaleidoscopic activity always pushing in new directions. Ino's bass is particularly effective, anchoring the pieces while engaging in a constant dialogue with the leader's guitar, thanks also to the diverse drum work of Yamazaki, that frees his bandmates from adhering to a strict rhythmic frame. There's also space for a couple of ballads, one for each disc, that highlight Takayanagi's lyrical side and balance the frenetic approach of the other tunes.

Track Listing

Vol.1: Fab Prophet; 84826-1; Slow #1- SumerTime; Fab HolyHoly. Vol.2: Fab Wizard; Slow #2; Fab Spirits; Fab Universal Indians.

Personnel

Masayuki Takayanagi: electric guitar; Nobuyoshi Ino: contrabass; Hiroshi Yamazaki: drums.

Album information

Title: Angry Waves Vol.1&2 | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Jinya Disc

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