Sunday, February 20, 2022

Akira Sakata / Takeo Moriyama - Mitochondria (Trost Records, 2022)

We are fortunate to be a fly on the wall in this performance through the medium of a cassette recording from Kashiwa Chiba Prefecture in Japan during May of 1986. The great free jazz saxophonist Akira Sakata meets equally powerfully drummer Takeo Moriyama for an excellent series of spontaneous duet performances. The two men provide a memorable version of the Albert Ayler free jazz chestnut “Ghosts” where Sakata’s willowy and stark saxophone floats into a section that is driven by the intense emotional needs of this song. The opening track “Archezoa” shows Sakata’s facility playing on a low toned instrument, whether he is doubling on bass clarinet or baritone saxophone. Almost serving as a benediction, the music is low and slow, but things really kick in on “Mitochondria” with Sakata moving to his more traditional alto saxophone while his partner Moriyama comes crashing in on drums as the music creates gales of free improvisation that truly comes from the heart. They sound superb together which is no mean feat when playing at this breakneck speed and with no guardrails. “Hachi” brings to mind the old Ralph Nader notion of “unsafe at any speed” because these guys are just simply burning, and there are some very brief moments in Sakata’s playing where you hear how closely he must have studied Eric Dolphy and Charlie Parker, because there are flutters, quick flurries of notes within the din of this overwhelming free blowout that connect it with the past. Moriyama is no slouch himself, building a righteous and multi-rhythmic drum solo that stakes his claim as an original and beguiling player in his own right. This album is a real gift, and it sounds very good, considering it was a cassette recording of extremely loud music. The music is great, dynamic and personal, it is a take on free jazz that is unique to these two men, and a clue to the rich Japanese music scene of the nineteen eighties. Mitochondria - Bandcamp

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