All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

5

Barre Phillips / Motoharu Yoshizawa: Oh My, Those Boys!

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Expatriate American bassist Barre Phillips is the banner name on another in the Chap Chap series of improvised encounters from Japan issued by the NoBusiness imprint. He boasts an illustrious back-story. His Journal Violone (Opus One,1968) is reputed to be the first solo bass album, while Music From Two Basses (ECM, 1971) with Dave Holland was probably the first record of improvised double bass duets. So it's no surprise that the veteran bassist demonstrates such mastery of the form on this 75-minute 1994 live date which pairs him with Japanese fellow practitioner Motoharu Yoshizawa.

Phillips, who occupies the left channel on the recording, makes glorious and musical use of the whole of the instrument's resources. He loads his poetic lines with an austere beauty, but also supplements almost every note with a litany of tiny gestures -strums, harmonics or vibrato -which amplify the expressive possibilities. At other times he fosters a more percussive approach -tapping, twanging and sharp. koto-like plucking -in response to the moment's demands. Overall his playing is distinguished by an astonishing stream of sustained invention in which he rarely resorts to repetition.

It would be a generalization to say that Phillips follows a western melodic sensibility while Yoshizawa possesses a more textural style, but it gives an impression of how matters pan out. Yoshizawa, in the right channel, plays a homemade electric vertical five-string bass, which allows him to enhance the physical sounds with electronic effects. Fortunately he uses the facility sensitively, creating eerie yelping arco cries, or synthesized echoes at the peak of his phrases, setting challenges for Phillips rather than overwhelming him.

Their dialogue often proceeds by way of contrasts, but not by rote. As an example Phillips adopts a skittering pizzicato as a rejoinder to Yoshizawa's panoramic bowed sweeps at 23' in the lengthy "Oh My!" and then later at 25' when both are wielding the bow, he pitches high against Yoshizawa's low. Such illustrations also reveal how both men switch between fingers and horsehair at will in their exploration of the extended techniques possible on the bass. Yoshizawa's simple electronic manipulations become more prevalent on the 20-minute "Those Boys!" leaving Phillips' imagination center stage as he essays pure drama against a backdrop of washes, rumbling and rattling.

Bass aficionados will surely get a strong hit from this deep dive into the soundworld of the bull fiddle.

Track Listing: Oh My!; Those Boys!

Personnel: Barre Phillips: bass; Motoharu Yoshizawa: homemade electric vertical five-string bass.

Title: Oh My, Those Boys! | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: NoBusiness Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Oh My, Those Boys!

Oh My, Those Boys!

NoBusiness Records
2018

buy
3 on a Thin Line

3 on a Thin Line

Hopscotch Records
2015

buy
 

Portraits

Emouvance
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Der Dichter Spricht CD/LP/Track Review
Der Dichter Spricht
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Dodecahedron CD/LP/Track Review
Dodecahedron
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 21, 2018
Read The Chopin Project CD/LP/Track Review
The Chopin Project
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: June 21, 2018
Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read "Bright Force" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Force
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2018
Read "Hesitantly Pleasant" CD/LP/Track Review Hesitantly Pleasant
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "Air and Light and Time and Space" CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik" CD/LP/Track Review Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Windows and lights" CD/LP/Track Review Windows and lights
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: June 15, 2018
Read "The Return" CD/LP/Track Review The Return
by Chris May
Published: April 16, 2018