Oct 22, 2012

Samurai Era — 15 lost grooves from the land of the rising sun

barabara sounds sez:
Another compilation, but this time highlighting the wealth of homegrown jazz talent that has emerged at this end of the planet. Despite the subtitle, few of the 15 tracks here are actually "lost" — and weren't even in 1999 when this album came out. In fact a number of them were/became club standards, not least Teruo Nakamura's TBM classic Umma Be Me (which is of course by Hubert Eaves, was recorded in NYC and features all US jazzmen apart from Nakamura himself, which hardly makes it "from the land of the rising sun").

And there lies both the weakness and strength of this collection: it's aimed at those discovering j-jazz through the clubs. Nothing wrong there at all. I just fast-forward/program out the overly-slick numbers by Zerosen and Imada — yes, and Hino-san too (sad to say) — to get to the core nuggets. From the chilled opening track by Isao Suzuki to Kawaguchi with Art Blakey to the percussive gems by Ponta Murakami and Shiraki's Stereo Drums, there's plenty to groove on here. 

Best of the lot? Most times round, my vote goes to Poo-Sun Kikuchi's La Moca Está Domingo, from Wishes/Kochi, his brilliant album on East Wind (Hino is in stellar form here, happily). But don't sleep on the curiosities: Masayoshi Takanaka's Star Wars Samba and Pecker's strangely named Dr. Dr. Humanity – yes that's for real: try googling it ;-)... Now there's one that really was lost from sight!