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Tatsuya Nakatani / Harold Rubin / Barre Phillips / Assif Tsahar

Eyal Hareuveni By

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Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani's last visit to Israel produced two albums. Both are totally different in their spirit. Both feature Nakatani's unique manner of shaping and extracting sounds from the cymbals and the skins of the drums that blossom as a memorable music.



Harold Rubin / Barre Phillips / Tatsuya Nakatani

3 On A Thin Line

Hopscotch Records

2013

This live recording from April 2009 documents the first ever meeting of Israel veteran free improviser and clarinetist Harold Rubin and prolific double bass master Barre Phillips, who came to take part in the double bassists' summit Deep Tones for Peace events in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with Tatsuya Nakatani. This totally improvised meeting was recorded in the Levontin 7 club in Tel Aviv.

The three found common ground immediately. All are attentive to the sound of their instruments and to the possibilities to shape these sounds, willing to take chances and to trust the musical sensitivity of the others. Rubin tends to offer linear lines, often melodic ones, while Phillips and Nakatani suggest options to deconstruct these sonic fragments into abstract occurrences and integrate them later. This is continuous, organic process of investigation of timbral shaping and extended techniques, spontaneously creating music out of spare sounds and curious and playful communication accumulated tension and powerful momentum.

The contemplative atmosphere of the first part, the pieces "Genesis" and "Zeta," changed immediately in the second part, the pieces "Zariba," "Zetetic," into a more energetic and tense interplay, even in its most abstract moments. The interaction between the three becomes immediate, often wild and dissonant, and the flow of the ideas keeps stimulating the fiery interplay. On this improvisation Phillips and Nakatani kept anchor Rubin gentle flights with muscular, shifting rhythms, reaching an explosive climax at the end of it. "Zodiac" and "Epilogue" benefited from the trust and understanding of the previous improvisation, and continued exploring the shared sonic interplay but in a more reserved spirit.

A miraculous free improvised meeting. Trust, sensitivity, innovation and exploration and risk taking unite for an impressive, organic musical language .



Assif Tsahar / Tatsuya Nakatani

I Got It Bad

Hopscotch Records

2013

This is the third album of Israeli tenor sax and bass clarinetist Assif Tsahar with Nakatani, after Come Sunday (Hopscotch, 2004) and Soltitude, with the KJLA String 4tet (Hopscotch, 2006). As the previous albums, this one is titled after a Duke Ellington standard. This symbolic homage marks the duo's respect for the jazz tradition but at the same time it's a unconventional perspective on that tradition, one that seeks new, expansive ways of expression.

After the beautiful, straight ahead cover of the Ellington piece, Tsahar and Nakatani begin to explore their instruments through extended techniques, including breathing techniques, timbral shaping and rhythmic options, following the sounds intuitively. The track titles are borrowed from a poem by Yuko Otomo.

These improvised pieces are usually short, reserved and often use a song form. On a few of the pieces like "Reclaime," "Heed," "Dodge" and "Dash," the duo's interplay is rooted in a muscular free jazz setting and features Nakatani as a powerful drummer. But on most of the pieces the two opt for minimal means to create music. Just a few meditative blows, colorful touches, poetic spirit, telepathic communication and a playful sense of adventure.

Fascinating music, rich with imagination, colors and trust.


Tracks and Personnel

3 On A Thin Line

Tracks: Genesis; Zeta; Zariba; Zetetic; Zodiac; Epilogue.

Personnel: Harold Robin: clarinet; Barre Phillips: double bass; Tatsuya Nakatani: percussion.

I Got It Bad

Tracks: I Got it Bad; Define; Deliver; Gaze; Reclaime; Whisper; Collate; Search; Excavate; Heed; Intuit; Persuade; Pun; Disguise; dodge; flow; Redeem; Shift; Dash; glow.

Personnel: Assif Tsahar: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Tatsuya Nakatani: percussion.

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