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Roscoe Mitchell & Tatsu Aoki: First Look

Jim Santella By

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Two masters of improvisation come together on this session, creating a religious experience that leaves plenty of room for individual audience interpretation. On the bottom, Tatsu Aoki fills the room with resonating acoustic bass textures that thump a rhythmic foundation. On the top, Roscoe Mitchell pours improvised flute and saxophone melodies that move like sand falling through your fingers. Their collaboration proves natural.

With ultra-high harmonics flowing from Aoki's bowed bass, "Number Five Wings Place" opens delicately. Mitchell adds light percussive effects that allow the piece to drone as would music surrounding a ceremonial rite. The duo returns to this kind of setting time and again. Thus, their First Look adopts a theme that weaves itself through the session.

Two "Journey" pieces take them on a crusade through exotic modern jazz settings and more spiritual rites. As the duo romps with a swinging gait or slows to a ceremonial drone, their worshipping reflections cast a giant shadow. Together, they create impressions that reflect the spiritual nature of the world around us. Whether the landscape comes from just down the street or from some distant mountaintop, the duo's improvised music gives the audience plenty to absorb.


Track Listing: In; East Side Easy; Number Five Wings Place; The Journey; Glide; Dot; Journey for the Cause; Yoshihashi; Out.

Personnel: Roscoe Mitchell: reeds, flute, percussion; Tatsu Aoki: acoustic bass, percussion.

Title: First Look | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Southport Records


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