More talking all that jazz, more high aiming music by Fumio Itabashi: Mule Musiq is releases another record by the legendary Japanese jazz pianist, born in Ashikaga, Tochigi in the year 1949.This time his first solo record ever: the heavy jazzing “Nature”, which has never been reissued on vinyl since its birth in 1979. It has been recorded at Nippon Columbia 1st studio, Tokyo from march 13 to 15 in the year of its release.
It features Itabashi making feverish love with the piano and sharing the studio with the great bass players Hideaki Mochizuki and Koichi Yamazaki, drummers Kenichi Kameyama and Ryojiro Furusawa, soprano saxophonist Yoshio Otomo and vibraphone wizard Hiroshi Hatsuyama.
They all joined him to perform his very own songs, composed by Itabashi himself and produced by Ryonosuke Honmura, who also produced japanese jazz heroes like saxophonist Keizo Inoue during his career.
But enough background information. What counts is sound. It is fresh, propulsive, twitchy and melodi-ous from the first to the last tone. Sometimes the instrumentalists play a classic solo in an overall deep modal jazz atmosphere that seems to be made for cats that love the good old stars and inventors - from John Coltrane to Miles Davis, from Thelonious Monk to Art Blakey.
“Nature” also shows how deep Itabashi studied the history of the genre, while keeping his very own vision of jazz alive. The man that made his professional debut as a member of the Sadao Watanabe quintet in 1971 and that also was a member of the Elvin Jones jazz machine world tour from 1985 to 1987, plays the piano in all tempos: nervous high-flying quick, deeply blue blues style slow.
Besides the traditional jazz flavours, you get a feeling of mind-expanding spiritual jazz, that grand mas-ters like Pharaoh Sanders or Gary Bartz turned into a sacred music genre. A master-class record in ravishing big city jazz music, adventurous, sometimes meditative, sometimes faster than the speed of light, always grooving with a bright, pure-toned sensibility and deeply soulful melodic imaginations.
It extends the jazz history with a fine balance between tradition and innovation. And it stays infectious all the time while sounding surprisingly fresh due to a lot of thrilling musical spontaneity that touches profoundly even though all notes have been written down by Fumio Itabashi before he and his combat-ants entered the studio.
And maybe that’s the mystery of these timeless five at times epic recordings: all notes been written on paper but each musician had the freedom to dance with them in his very own unique way. So, turn the volume loud and get ready to be steamrolled by Fumio Itabashi’s “Nature”, an inebriant album that is talking all that jazz deeply!