Tuesday 7 April 2020, 7.30pm
Akira Sakata / alto saxophone, clarinet, voice
Johan Berthling / double bass
Paal Nilssen-Love / drums & percussion
“One of the most powerful, exciting working groups... Arashi storms - literally - with an uncompromising force and intensity, as if its own energy produces even more addictive kind of energy, leading to an ecstatic and thunderous tour-de-force.” – Free Jazz Blog
The trio of Scandinavian rhythm section Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Johan Berthling (double bass) hooking up with Japanese free jazz legend Akira Sakata (saxophone/clarinet) started in 2013 at the Molde Jazz Festival in Norway. The trio took their name from the legendary 1977 collaborative album by Yosuke Yamashita Trio and dance group Dairakudakan - an album that Sakata was a central part of, that even 40 years later stand solid as a radical and bold musical statement. And this piece of history gives us a clue to where the trio of Nilssen-Love, Berthling and Sakata is aiming for, not by looking back and rethreading what has been done before, but adopting its attitude of kicking the often stale sax/drums/bass-format forward with such force that it feels completely fresh.
"There are moments on this album when the energy is so furiously intense it feels like it's going to spin out of control and take someone's eye out. Sakata delivers wry alto phrases, as though from the corner of his mouth, before digressing into urgent flights of fancy, and finally launching into screaming, red-faced declamation - fueled by Nilsen-Love's boiling pulse-time drums and the low bounce of Berthling's double bass." – The WIRE on the trio's first release
Akira Sakata was born in Kure-city, Hiroshima in 1945. Studied marine biology at Hiroshima university. Formed a group Saibo-bunretsu (Cell fission) in Tokyo in 1969, and was also performing with various free-jazz musicians during this time. 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, from 1972 till 1979, and Wha-ha-ha plus many of his own, like the Sakata Akira mii. He has recorded with Chris Cosey, Peter Brotzmann in Last Exit, DJ Krush, Yoshimio, and others.
In 2005 he began peforming with guitarist Jim O'Rourke, drummer Chris Corsano and acoustic bassist Darin Gray. They've since released three albums together. Friendly Pants is the first American release by Sakata in more than 20 years. It pairs the 65-year-old traveler alongside bombast Chikamorachi (Corsano/Gray) and O'Rourke as the producer.
Plays bass (double and electric) as main instrument but also uses guitar and other instruments. Active on the Swedish improvised scene since the late 90’s but doesn’t stay true to any genre: he works in all kinds music. Has worked as producer and arranger for many Swedish and some international artists. Works with his own group Tape, new group Ohayo, the Sten Sandell Trio, Fire! and Boots Brown, amongst others.
Nilssen-Love has, during the last couple of years, established himself on the international scene as a powerful drummer with high energy and creativity. In 2002 he was "Artist in Residence" at Molde International Jazz Festival, a title Chick Corea and Pat Metheny held in previous years. After 7 days and 9 concerts at the festival, Down Beat stated, "His week at Molde proved a revelation: Nilssen-Love is one of the most innovative, dynamic and versatile drummers in jazz."
Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill.
"Sartorially shabby as Thomas may be, and on first impression even rather stolid, he has a somewhat imperious charisma that’s immediately amplified when he starts to play. Unlike other pianists whose virtuosity seems to be racing ahead of their thought processes Thomas always seems supremely in command of his gift, and his playing, no matter how free and ready to tangle with abstraction, always carries a charge of authoritative exactitude." - The Jazzmann