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.
Jim O'Rourke & Loren Connors: Two Nice Catholic Boys
These two nice Catholic boys, Loren Connors and Jim O'Rourke, met at the crossroads each night during a 1997 European tour. By this time O'Rourke already reissued Connors' seminal heartbreak album In Pittsburgh on his Dexter's Cigar label and and was preparing to produce the guitarist's big-band mash-up with Alan Licht, Hoffman Estates. Together, Connors-O'Rourke unravel slow motion ghost blues across three extended pieces that evolve from the elder's martian style to the thundering, feedback splattered lead grooves of that whippersnapper. The spontaneous melodies shift from devastating, country road intimacy to hypnotic overamped rock. It's ferocious, epic, and an utter beauty capable only from two who know themselves and each other all too well. This live CD is only the second duo release by these musical partners despite performing together since the mid-90s. During the past decade, O'Rourke has repeatedly returned to the hours of recordings captured across Europe to select these 47 minutes.