May 18, 2013

Teruo Nakamura - Unicorn


barabara sounds sez:
Another classic TBM side from 1973, and probably the best thing that Nakamura ever laid down. Which is all thanks to the company he keeps here. It is (as TJ points out) a bit of a mixed bag, and I'm with those who say Umma Be Me, soulful and funky though it is, doesn't really belong on the album. But the other tracks more than make up for it, especially the final two tracks. Dusty, on the other hand, seems to like it all start to finish!

dusty sez:
A landmark album from the Japanese fusion scene of the 70s – a killer set of tracks recorded by bassist Teruo Nakamura, with help from a host of American soul jazz luminaries! The album's easily one of Nakamura's most sought-after sets – cut in New York in 1973, with players that include Steve Grossman, George Cables, Lenny White, Hubert Eaves, and Alphonze Mouzon. Tracks are long and jamming, but also have a wonderfully soulful component – a bit of the post-Coltrane spiritualism of some of Gary Bartz's early albums, and some of the open-ended styles you might hear on a label like Strata East. Singer Sandy Hewitt sings on 2 tracks – including the funky "Umma Be Me", which almost feels like an Andy Bey groover from the same time!

allmusic.com (thom jurek) sez:
Unicorn was bassist Teruo Nakamura's first date as a leader. Recorded and issued in Japan on the legendary Three Blind Mice imprint in 1973, Nakamura had been working in New York since 1964. He'd done a lot of hardscrabble work before 1969 when he landed the gig as bassist in Roy Haynes' fine group of the time. During that year he formed a band with Steve Grossman and Lenny White, who both appear here. This is an interesting date because it is equally divided between very electric fusion tracks and more modal acoustic numbers…
The music is very much of its time, and though it is a session players gig, with rotating lineups, there is plenty of fire here. Grossman had already done his stint with Miles Davis and is in fine form on soprano (especially on the opening title cut), and tenor on John Coltrane's "Some Other Blues." White and Mouzon are both outstanding, so the drum chair is killer throughout, no matter who's playing, and Cables' Rhodes work on the Trane cut and "Derrick's Dance," written by Miller, is stellar. Nakamura, for his part, is more than an able bassist; he leads by guiding the rhythm and not standing out as a soloist. This set has aged very well and was finally issued in the states on CD in 2007 on the Passion Music imprint.

tracks:
Unicorn Lady; Understanding; Some Other Blues; Umma Be Me; New Moon; Derrick's Dance

musicians:
Teruo Nakamura bass; Steve Grossman soprano sax; Charles Sullivan trumpet; George Cables electric piano, piano; Hubert Eaves III electric piano, piano; John Miller piano; Alphonse Mouzon drums; Lenny White drums; Ronald Jackson percussion; Alvern Bunn congas; Keiji Kishida percussion; Sandy Hewitt vocals


19 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This is good! Thank you!

Simon666 said...

Damn i love this album :) Thanks for the upgrade TN!

Mutha Klanger said...

so much kickin' j-jazz seems to have passed me by over the years. much enjoying catching up. thx :-)

taro nombei said...

@ Simon666
Yep, like most (but not all) of my posts, this ones's from the "superior" JP mini-sleeve reissue CD...
Good to see you around these parts! All well I hope?

taro nombei said...

@ Mutha Klanger
You said it!
Go check out Orgy in Rhythm too; Bacoso is also big on j-jazz!

E-mile said...

new to me, looks like a banger...will give it a proper spin sometime tomorrow (late, grr)
thanks TN!

steve.d said...

An excellent record,tremendous line up,great stuff.

Andy said...

Thanks,looking forward to hearing it.Share very much appreciated.

E-mile said...

oh boy, sounds like I expected: 100% banging-proof, I even like the Umma Be Me tune, this one is a keeper, thanks TN for sharing this 70's beauty!
peace, E-mile

taro nombei said...

@ E-mile
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Umma Be Me, I just don't think it fits so well with the other material. Or perhaps what I'd really like is a whole album featuring Sandy Hewitt and those same backing musicians.
But it's a brilliant album none the less — and deserves to be much better known.

@ Andy, @ steve.d
cheers!

Mimi Soul said...

Great many thanks

Peace

Anonymous said...

MANY THANKS FOR THIS MASTERPIECE!!!
Kostas from Greece.

highplainsdrifter said...

This is superb! I look forward to raiding your site for treasures!

Feel free to drop by my site anytime!

www.driftinghighplains.blogspot.com

taro nombei said...

@ highplainsdrifter
good to 'see' you here. thanks for dropping by.
feel free, dive in and raid to your heart's content.
that's what this place is all about. that and a bit of dialogue as we go :-)

and yes, high plains drifter, mmm, one of my favorite movies — then and still!

taro nombei said...

UPDATE
For the time being no link for this.
But feel free to admire the artwork :)

santos curser said...

nice musicians in the recording... no link?

taro nombei said...

@ santos curser

Sorry, too many DM notices (legal stuff from Blogger).

Here's a taster on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDnwG0DzT4Y

taro nombei said...

and here's another: Derrick's Dance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUE3uQkKbTE