All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

6

Itaru Oki: Kami Fusen

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
This second instalment from NoBusiness Records collaboration with the Japanese Chap Chap label under the name of trumpeter Itaru Oki constitutes a real find. One of the pioneers of free jazz in his native country, Oki moved to Paris in 1974, subsequently working with many luminaries including saxophonists Steve Lacy, Noah Howard and Sam Rivers, and has been part of some acclaimed releases since, Symphony For Old And New Dimensions (Ayler Records, 2009) in particular comes to mind. But this date, recorded live on a return home in 1996, is also deserving of a wider audience.

Alongside Oki are his countryman Nobuyoshi Ino on bass and special guest Korean trumpeter Choi Sun Bae. The novel instrumentation might seem a stretch were it not for the excellence of the bassist who once collaborated on an album entitled Duet with AEC maverick Lester Bowie (Paddle Wheel, 1985). He does the heavy lifting here to keep the unit grounded. Although propulsive, supple and inventive, he still makes opportunities to interject dialogue with the soloists. Ino also contributes two compositions, along with a pair from Oki and two standards, ensuring that the program embraces the jazz tradition with abundant time and melody.

It's the fluid interplay between the trumpeters, and their interaction with the bassist which is one of the main plus points of this set. Oki exhibits a lyricism indebted to Miles Davis, but also snarls and splutters, and extends his scope with bamboo flutes. Choi is perhaps more adventurous and tonally wide ranging, his lines punctuated by whooshes and subterranean growls. As such they attain a pleasing balance between the honeyed and the acerbic, nowhere better displayed than on Oki's "Ikiru" which starts with expressive bleating by the muted brass, and then continues with the bass offering rich counterpoint to each trumpet in turn.

Each of the charts incorporates open elements, but does so in unanticipated ways. On "Pon Pon Tea" Ino's ambling bass upholds the pulse but also pursues skipping diversions into freeform, while the title track begins ominously with trumpet murmurs backed by a repeating arco figure, before developing an Americana-tinged hymnal feel. Oki takes "I Remember Clifford" alone and "Old Folks / Tea For Two" with only Ino for company. In comparison to the imaginative originals, the standards are played straight without irony and while they still bear testament to the tension between Oki's lyrical streak and his freewheeling ethos, they are ultimately less compelling.

Track Listing: Pon Pon Tea; Yawning Baku; Ikiru; Kami-Fusen; I Remember Clifford; Old Folks / Tea for Two.

Personnel: Itaru Oki: trumpet, bamboo flute; Nobuyoshi Ino: bass; Choi Sun Bae: trumpet.

Title: Kami Fusen | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Kami Fusen

Kami Fusen

NoBusiness Records
2017

buy
Chorui Zukan

Chorui Zukan

Improvised Beings
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Terrestrial CD/LP/Track Review
Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Get Somethin' CD/LP/Track Review
Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Bansangu Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
Bansangu Orchestra
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Cubafonía" CD/LP/Track Review Cubafonía
by Matt Hooke
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "Tramontana" CD/LP/Track Review Tramontana
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: July 4, 2018
Read "Picking Up Steam" CD/LP/Track Review Picking Up Steam
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: May 12, 2018
Read "Fukushima" CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Killing Bugs" CD/LP/Track Review Killing Bugs
by Kevin Press
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Disappeared Behind the Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018