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Album Review

Sabu Toyozumi / Mats Gustafsson: Hokusai

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Sabu Toyozumi / Mats Gustafsson: Hokusai
This tantalizing duo between Mats Gustafsson and Sabu Toyozumi was recorded at two live concerts in Chiba, Japan in 2018. Probably most listeners are familiar with the Swedish saxophonist from his avant—garage trio The Thing with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love and dozens of other ensembles including Fire! Orchestra, The End, and Cuts with Masami Akita aka Merzbow, and Balazs Pandí, to name but a few.

This recording may be an introduction to Japanese drummer/percussionist Toyozumi. He has been an active musician for decades, recording with Masahiko Satoh, Rick Countryman, Wadada Leo Smith, Paul Rutherford, and even Charles Mingus in 1971. His 1980s recordings with Peter Brötzmann and Derek Bailey have long been treasured by free jazz aficionados.

Hokusai is available in LP with three lengthy tracks or CD with the inclusion of an additional solo performance by Gustafsson and Toyozumi. The three duos presented open with "Sunflower," a piece that enters stealthily enough with barely perceptible baritone saxophone breath and minimal percussive pulse. The spell is broken by the cluck and pop of Gustafsson's saxophone and his vocalizations. Toyozumi follows with his stop-start attack which converts into a jagged blast of energy. The pair work a quiet/loud/quiet approach to great effect, drawing you in then jolting you out. "Woman With A Cat" finds Gustafsson hoisting both fluteophone and flute. The interaction rotates around the music's tension and release of energy, Toyozumi as tour director here. The music next presents a solo by each performer. Gustafsson returns to the baritone saxophone, applying minimalist sounds incorporating breathy passages, pops, cluck and his vocalizations. Toyozumi's solo relies on space, utilizing quiet as much as pulse here. The pair reunite for the 20+ minute "For Ever-Advancing Artistry." Their music finds a meeting of the minds here, with any hesitation that might have been perceived on the previous interactions dissolved. The finale is a sweat drenched, leave-it-all-on-the- bandstand improvisation.

Track Listing

Sunflower; Woman with A Cat; Manga By Hokusai; Red View Of Mt. Fuji; For Ever-Advancing Artistry.

Personnel

Sabu Toyozumi: drums; Mats Gustafsson: woodwinds.

Additional Instrumentation

Mats Gustafsson: baritone saxophone, fluteophone, flute.

Album information

Title: Hokusai | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records


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