barabara sounds sez:
While I’m about it here, I might as well drop the other two Sleep Walker albums: the excellent self-titled debut; and the third, the “remixes/best-of/new bits and pieces” Works. Not the first time they've been out in the blogosphere. And there's not much more I need say about these bangers – except if you've not heard them before and you like a nice bit of premium club jazz, then your ears are in for a treat. Enjoy!
dusty sez (about Works):
…a collection of singles, remixes, and new tracks, all representing some of the best work from this ultra-hip club jazz combo! As with their full albums, the style here is jazz-based at the outset - played in a classic mode that has plenty of echoes of Impulse Records during the Coltrane generation – but forged into a tighter, leaner groove for the 21st Century – a mode that's sometimes rhythmic and aimed at the dancefloor, yet which never loses any sense of depth or creativity from a jazz perspective! Saxophonist Masato Nakamura contributes some incredibly great tenor and soprano work to the tunes – and Hajimi Yoshizawa's modal piano lines pulsate tremendously throughout. A few cuts are remixes, but still very much embody the Sleep Walker sound - with new instrumentation, as the group makes a live jazz take on the tracks they're supposedly remixing!
dusty sez (about Sleep Walker)
A monumental bit of club jazz – one of the best new records we've heard in years, with a sound that's right up there with the best of Impulse Records from the classic years! The album's a side project of Japanese producer/keyboardist Hajime Yoshizawa – and unlike his other records, which have a much stronger dance/soul approach, this set's almost purely straight jazz – done with majestically searching solos on both keyboards and sax, the latter of which is played by Masato Nakamura, who has a tone that almost recalls Pharoah Sanders! The whole thing's great – a brilliant piece of Love Supreme jazz, co-produced by Kyoto Jazz Massive, who give the record enough of a bounce to make it appeal to fans of recent work by them, Koop, or Jazzanova as well. An instant classic – and a mindblowingly deep record that we'll be playing for years!