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5

Multiple Reviews

Solo Pianists from Japan

Read "Solo Pianists from Japan" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


These are two recent solo piano releases from Japanese players. One is the latest dispatch from a prolific musician. The other is a farewell statement from a deceased artist. Satoko Fujii Hazuki Libra 2021 Satoko Fujii has been amazingly prolific in the last few years, releasing a bevy of recordings in all sort of configurations, from solo piano and duets with her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, to various small groups and ...

3

Album Review

Masabumi Kikuchi: Hanamichi The Final Studio Recording

Read "Hanamichi  The Final Studio Recording" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


Masabumi Kikuchi is not the kind of jazz pianist who just strikes the keys to produce a sound. He has a Zen-like approach to the instrument by making it an extension of himself, and thus both constructs and hears the music produced as a different form factor. There are and were other contemporary pianists such as Bill Evans, Denny Zeitlin and the late Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould, musicians who perhaps may fit into this category, but Kikuchi was a ...

14

Album Review

Masabumi Kikuchi: Black Orpheus

Read "Black Orpheus" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Black Orpheus, the solo piano CD from Japanese-born pianist Masabumi Kikuchi, may be the starkest, loneliest music in the world. Masabumi Kikuchi (1939-2015) was a versatile, if ultimately idiosyncratic artist. Early in his career he worked with a panoply of mainstream music makers, everyone from drummer Elvin Jones, to producer arranger Gil Evans, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson and pianist/composer Mal Waldron. But he proved--from 1990 on--too individualistic, a musician with no technique (or so he said), who never ...

12

Extended Analysis

Masabumi Kikuchi / Ben Street / Thomas Morgan / Kresten Osgood

Read "Masabumi Kikuchi / Ben Street / Thomas Morgan / Kresten Osgood" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard


The German poet, philosopher and literary critic Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel (1772-1829) had an affinity for the fragment as an art form and in his Athenaeumsfragment 206, he wrote about it, saying that: “[a] fragment, like a small work of art, has to be entirely isolated from the surrounding world and be complete in itself like a hedgehog." Like a true Romantic poet, Schlegel saw the unique potential of the fragment as something that could point ...

63

Album Review

Masabumi Kikuchi Trio: Sunrise

Read "Sunrise" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Pianist Masabumi Kikuchi recorded a session with the late trumpeter Miles Davis in 1978 that was never released. Had it been, the Japanese musician could perhaps have been slung by Davis' Jovian presence/influence to greater fame. As it is, Kikuchi has maintained a career as an iconoclastic artist, collaborating with some of the best jazz players. His musical tributes to Edith Piaf and Kurt Weill with the Tethered Moon trio in the 1990s--with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian--may ...

107

Album Review

Masabumi Kikuchi Trio: Sunrise

Read "Sunrise" reviewed by John Kelman


With a surprising number of recordings coming out that represent some of drummer Paul Motian's final work before passing unexpectedly in the fall of 2011, few have created as deeply personal a tribute as the liner notes to Japanese pianist Masabumi Kikuchi's Sunrise. “Suddenly Paul was gone. He left without warning," Kikuchi writes, as he recounts his first meeting with Motian, the time they shared together in the Tethered Moon trio--which, with bassist Gary Peacock, released three albums between 1993 ...


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