Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi: Live at Hungry Brain
In 2009 Family Vineyard released the first U.S. album by Japanese saxophone legend Akira Sakata in more than 20 years. That critically heraldedrelease, Friendly Pants, was with Sakata's long running rhythm crew Chikamorachi -- drummer Chris Corsano (Paul Flaherty Duo, Bjork, Jandek, etc.) and acoustic bassist Darin Gray (On Fillmore, Grand Ulena, Brise-Glace, etc.). This LP is their follow-up. Recorded during the '09 Umbrella Music Festival in Chicago, Live at Hungry Brain is an outrageous document by this brawling avant garde trio. Sakata, on alto/clarinet/ vocals, relentlessly pushes Corsano/Gray into the blackout zone where the body drops out and the spirit takes over. On each piece Sakata seemingly levitates higher into a cosmic zone while blasting out gorgeous melodic shapes -- even when he sings. Those who have followed Corsano and Gray's progression through the American rock, noise & free jazz underground will hear this LP as a pinnacle of their talent. It's an exhilarating, deeply textured and exhausting listen only matched by the outlandish, yet spot-on, cover art by famed Japan illustrator More Rock All Art. Edition of 700 copies.
Akira Sakata & Jim O'Rourke with Chikamorachi: And that's the Story of Jazz...
And that's the story of jazz... Get it? Well, maybe you had to be there when legendary saxophonist Akira Sakata, guitarist Jim O'Rourke and bombast rhythm crew of percussionist Chris Corsano and double bassist Darin Gray (aka Chikamorachi) jumped in the van for a Japanese tour. This two CD set documents their 2008 jaunt -- not the first and far from last -- in blistering detail. Shades of Last Exit, Coltrane's Live in Seattle and even Kousokuya appear here but this quartet has nailed its own unique 'n' volatile tension and symmetry during its past six years together. Until now, their albums have only been available as Japanese imports. This is also the third U.S. release by Sakata on Family Vineyard in the past three years.Throughout Sakata charges upper registers on alto sax yet still hooks stunning phrases and harmonic themes. O'Rourke's radical, electric guitar blasts are massive volleys of pure sound. All the while, Gray relentlessly anchors the torrent with subterranean grooves, scrapes and slaps while Corsano lays waste to his kit, pounding polyrhythms and tones. Together passages transform from blinding, uncompromised brutality to zones where Sakta's sweetened melodies dance slowly alone and O'Rourke, also on harmonica, adds lonesome country blues. Over-the-top at times, but hey, that's the story of jazz... If you want Grade-A, blood splattered free music, this is it, but you gotta pay for it.
Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi: Friendly Pants
Friendly Pants is the first American release by legendary Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata in more than 20 years. It pairs the 65-year-old traveler alongside Chikamorachi, the bombast rhythm section of drummer Chris Corsano (Paul Flaherty Duo, Bjork, Jandek) and acoustic bassist Darin Gray (On Fillmore, Grand Ulena, Brise Glace). Since the late 1960s, Sakata has been a constant figure in jazz and creative music scenes as an ever evolving and adventurous, multi-instrumentalist, and member of classic groups such as Yamashita Yosuke Trio and Wha-ha-ha plus many of his own, like the Sakata Akira mii. He has recorded with Chris Cosey, Peter Brötzmann in Last Exit, DJ Krush, Yoshimio, and others. Since 2005 Sakata has been aligned with Corsano and Gray -- a duo equally informed by underground American rock, noise & free jazz -- and already issued two other smoked and blown out albums with them in Japan. On each of those they were joined by Jim O'Rourke, who remains in the producer's chair for this session. Sakata deliverers ferocious / highly lyrical approaches to the post-bop field and with Chikamorachi's recalls late-period John Coltrane or Pharoah Sanders during the early 1970s at times. While the three smear and tear at the edges, Sakata's massive tone and melodic sense reins in the chaos to create beauty and awe.Originally issued on O'Rourke's Japanese imprint Shakaijin Records, Friendly Pants is now reissued for the rest of the world to dig.