Last November we were delighted to welcome back one of the most important musicians of the Japanese underground/avant-garde - Otomo Yoshihide - for his first show here since 2013. Joined by Japanese drummer Hiroshi Yamazaki (who has Kaoru Abe among his extensive list of past collaborators, and was also a member of Masayuki Takayanagi’s pioneering New Directions group) and legendary saxophonist Evan Parker, the two duos and extended trio mark the first time these three have collaborated. Yoshihide's guitar scrawl knots up Yamazaki's wide angled percussion and when Parker comes in for the trio it's not long before his familiar lines warp up into Yoshihide's strung out, high freq reverb for a dark, light and deep level wig-out. It's truly special when a trio works first time like this, and we hope they'll be back together before long.
Otomo Yoshihide / guitar
Hiroshi Yamazaki / percussion
Evan Parker / saxophone
1. One - 15:32 (Yoshihide / Yamazaki)
2. Two - 20:52 (Yamazaki / Parker)
3. Three - 46:37 (Yoshihide / Yamazaki / Parker)
Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Monday the 14th Novemeber, 2016. Mixed and mastered by the ever talented James Dunn. Photo by Dawid Laskowski.
Available as 320k MP3 or 24bit FLAC
"If you've ever been tempted by free improvisation, Parker is your gateway drug." - Stewart Lee
Evan Parker has been a consistently innovative presence in British free music since the 1960s. Parker played with John Stevens in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, experimenting with new kinds of group improvisation and held a long-standing partnership with guitarist Derek Bailey. The two formed the Music Improvisation Company and later Incus Records. He also has tight associations with European free improvisations - playing on Peter Brötzmann's legendary 'Machine Gun' session (1968), with Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Paul Lovens (A trio that continues to this day), Globe Unity Orchestra, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, and Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO).
Though he has worked extensively in both large and small ensembles, Parker is perhaps best known for his solo soprano saxophone music, a singular body of work that in recent years has centred around his continuing exploration of techniques such as circular breathing, split tonguing, overblowing, multiphonics and cross-pattern fingering. These are technical devices, yet Parker's use of them is, he says, less analytical than intuitive; he has likened performing his solo work to entering a kind of trance-state. The resulting music is certainly hypnotic, an uninterrupted flow of snaky, densely-textured sound that Parker has described as "the illusion of polyphony". Many listeners have indeed found it hard to credit that one man can create such intricate, complex music in real time.
Otomo Yoshihide moves between free jazz, noise, improvisation, composition and the unclassifiable with a generosity that opens up the possibilities for expression in all of the constellations with which he's involved. He spent his teenage years in Fukushima, about 300 kilometers north of Tokyo. Influenced by his father, an engineer, Otomo began making electrical devices such as a radio and an electronic oscillator. In junior high school, his hobby was making sound collages using open-reel tape recorders. This was his first experience creating music. Soon after entering high school he formed a band which played rock and jazz, with Otomo on guitar. It wasn't long, however, before he became a free jazz aficionado, listening to artists like Ornette Coleman, Erick Dolphy and Derek Bailey; and hearing music, both on disk and at concerts, by Japanese free jazz artists. Especially influenced by alto sax player Kaoru Abe and guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, Otomo decided to play free jazz.
In 1990, Otomo started what was to become Ground Zero. Until it disbanded in March 1998, the band was at the core of his musical creativity, while it underwent several changes in style and membership. Since Ground Zero, Otomo has embraced minimal improvisation, film music and the jazz/big band conceptions of his New Jazz Quartet/Quintet/Orchestra.
Hiroshi Yamazaki (1940) is a Tokyo-born drummer who has played under several different names over the course of his career. He started out as a jazz drummer from 1959, performing with Hampton Hawes and the like. From the late 60s until the 80's, he was heavily involved with the work of Masayuki Takayanagi, including as a member of Takayanagi's pioneering New Directions group. Other notable collaborations include the DUO album with influential Japanese saxophonist, Kaoru Abe, alongside numerous perfomances spanning orthodox jazz to free improvisation. In recent years he has regularly performed with Otomo Yoshihide.