398

Ryuichi Sakamoto at the Vic Theatre in Chicago

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Vic Theatre
Chicago, IL
October 26, 2010

Mysticism and minimalism were the dual themes for the Ryuichi Sakamoto concert at the historic Vic Theatre in Chicago on Tuesday night the 26th of October 2010. Sakamoto stopped at this venue as a part of a rare North American tour to promote his dual CD set Playing the Piano/Out of Noise on the Decca Label.

The concert opened with ambient electronic and nature sounds played over a background of abstract, black and white art being projected on a large screen, that looked like overexposed negatives, enhanced by occasional puffs of smoke. Then Sakamoto started playing the piano strings first in a Zen like improvisation that ebbed and flowed in short cycles. After the first piece Sakamoto launched into solo piano interpretations of his own compositions for various film scores, maintaining the same minimalistic approach, but with limited improvisations, in front of a projected film of a desolate snow covered landscape viewed through a "dirty" car window. As his pieces became more mellifluous, color first purple and then red, started bleeding into the projected art.

He continued interpreting his cinematic themes, creating the atmosphere those pieces had done in their respective films without the help of an orchestra, he did, however, utilize a second grand piano that, thanks to Yamaha's computerized Disklavier system, looped previously recorded signals to his hand and feet movements, which as the introductory script explained, allowed Sakamoto to perform 'virtual duets' with himself. This technique further enhanced the ambience created by his repetitive yet complex musical ideas. The concert closed with Sakamoto playing the two grand pianos in this manner on three short, yet intensely melodic, pieces (including a Japanese blues) in front of first a flickering candle with the words of the Dalai Lama scrolling across it, then a red and white Mondrian style painting and lastly a black and white video of the insides of the grand piano.

Much heavier on atmosphere than substance, this concert nevertheless succeeded in creating an ethereal and welcoming sanctuary for weary minds.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Monterey Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Monterey Jazz Festival 2017
by Josef Woodard
Published: September 25, 2017
Read Match&Fuse Dublin 2017 Live Reviews Match&Fuse Dublin 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 24, 2017
Read Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard Live Reviews Antonio Sanchez Group at Jazz Standard
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2017
Read WOMAD 2017 Live Reviews WOMAD 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Punkt Festival 2017 Live Reviews Punkt Festival 2017
by Henning Bolte
Published: September 17, 2017
Read Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium Live Reviews Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Arturo Sandoval At Yoshi's Oakland" Live Reviews Arturo Sandoval At Yoshi's Oakland
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 17, 2017
Read "Little Feat at the Paramount" Live Reviews Little Feat at the Paramount
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: June 10, 2017
Read "Newport Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Newport Jazz Festival 2017
by Timothy J. O'Keefe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Karl Denson's Tiny Universe at Levitt Pavilion" Live Reviews Karl Denson's Tiny Universe at Levitt Pavilion
by Geoff Anderson
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Siena Jazz International Summer Workshop" Live Reviews Siena Jazz International Summer Workshop
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 8, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.