The sophomore effort by Akira Sakata's quartet Bonjintan, which translates into "ordinary person" might actually be better interpreted as "egalitarian." Notice that neither the quartet's name nor the album cover mention the saxophonist's name. Like the initial, self-titled 2017 release on Sakata's Daphnia Records, Dental Kafka focuses on a quartet sound and four equal musicians improvising.
Certainly due to the legendary status of the septuagenarian saxophonist, listeners will focus attention on the great man, but this release is more about a democratic sound and shared group improvisation. Sakata's partners have all worked with him and each other in the past. Jim O'Rourke sticks to double bass here with Giovanni Di Domenico at the keyboards and Tatsuhisa Yamamoto on drums.
The disc opens with the amplified vibrations of scraped cymbals and minimal pulse as if we are receiving signals from space satellites. The electronic gestures are interrupted by Sakata's raspy voice, speaking Japanese. With O'Rourke's slow spaced-out pulse the restrained piece ends with bells. The title delivers a more traditional saxophone free jazz quartet launch with a muscular rip, tear, crunch sound, but then pauses and pivots towards a germinating sound not unlike that of Australia's The Necks. The ferocity morphs into melody. Sakata picks up his clarinet as the solo introduction to "Koro Koro Donguri." After tap-tapping cymbals and the electro-mechanics of Di Domenico's Hohner pianet join, the outward explorations are again corralled into an accommodating melody, deftly navigated by the keyboardist. "Bonjin" again mines that slowly developing piano trio improvisational sound with Sakata treading gently with his clarinet. Like his brother from another mother Peter Brötzmann, Akira Sakata can, when the situation deems, deliver beautiful lines.
Ape Huci Kamuy (God Of Fire By Ainu People); Dental Kafka; Koro Koro Donguri; Bonjin.