JAZU: Jazz from Japan. Review. Reikan Kobayashi. Shakuhachi Jazz PDF Stampa E-mail
Scritto da Nico Conversano   
Martedì 09 Ottobre 2018 00:00

JAZU: Jazz from Japan. Review. Reikan Kobayashi. Shakuhachi Jazz

Mokorin Music ­­- MM-005 - 2018

Reikan Kobayashi: shakuhachi
Yuya Wakai: piano
Takayoshi Baba: guitar
Yasuhiko "Hachi" Sato: upright bass

In the course of history, while jazz was rapidly spreading in Japan, many were the chances for the instruments of Japanese traditional music to meet the syncopated rhythms and the complex harmonies of jazz.
Shakuhachi is among those instruments that, due to its great expressive versatility, more than others allowed musicians to realize these encounters between Western and Asian music legacies.
This ancient instrument that, in its most traditional form, presents itself as a flute provided with five holes, slightly curved and entirely manufacured from the root end of a single bamboo cane, can produce a very peculiar sound and offers to the performers a wide range of tones, pitches and timber possibilities, achieved by different embouchures and fingerings techniques.
Taking up the baton of great masters such as Hozan Yamamoto and Minoru Muraoka, who first introduced shakuhachi into jazz, musician Reikan Kobayashi is today among the youngest and most virtuoso performers of this instrument to carry on this fruitful dialogue among far and different music cultures.
In this new recording, Kobayashi chooses to reinterpret mostly a selection of renowned tunes from jazz repertoire modeling around them the sound of his instrument and permeating them with an undeniable and beautifully conjured up Japanese aura.
The album opens up in the best possible way with a rendition of Spain turning it into the launching pad of the entire album. The ensemble driven by Kobayashi and backed up by excellent partners soon reveals its cards on the table highlighting a cosmopolitan idea of music which blend together many influences until making them plausible and coherent.
After the Spanish echoes of aforementioned and famous Chick Corea's composition, the subsequent 'Round About Midnight confirms this tendency when the evocative sound of Kobayashi's shakuhachi redefines the mysterious and hazy corners of this Thelonious Monk's classic, offering us an inedited and fascinating view on it.
In the wake of great jazz giants, Kobayashi is not afraid to face the insidious Charlie Parker's Confirmation or the spiky Coltrane's Giant Steps, skillfully moving with originality among their daring harmonies. The refined Blue Note-ish moods of Joe Henderson's latin-tinged Recorda-me as well as the romanticism of I'll Be Seeing You give him a break from the previous complex textures.
Headland, penned by the leader, is a piece in which is outstanding the ancient attitude of shakuhachi as a meditative viaticum.
Among the involved musicians, everyone at their best, the impeccable guitarist Takayoshi Baba proposes a creative accompaniment, taking turns as main partner with the intense pianist Yuya Wakai, while bass player Yasuhiko Sato keeps tightly the hands on the rhythmic tiller.
The interesting approach proposed by Kobayashi consists in presenting his music not as a work in which the shakuhachi meets jazz, like a stranger in a stranger land, but rather as an instrument capable and eager to dialogue on the same level with the other principal wind instruments of jazz, aiming to a more relevant position in its ranks, as a metaphor of a world inevitably globalized whose cultural and geographic borders gets thinner day by day.

Related Links:
Reikan Kobayashi official website: reikankobayashi.net/index_en.html
Shakuhachi Jazz. Video teaser: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Gxt_r78z30

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