Does what it says on the tin - beautiful bamboo flute! Wasn't previously familiar with this one but now I’m totally hooked; expected some dime-a-dozen eastern exotica spa vibes but this is one of the gnarliest Japanese jazz records I’ve heard in a long time. Rolling jazz-funk grooves injected with Mancini-level drama courtesy of the Sharps & Flats brass band; Yamamoto’s bamboo flute provides the top line giving the tunes a decidedly eastern twist that’s nowhere near corny or tropey. There’s no exotica or novelty here, all business, shot through with a mature austerity and Yamamoto’s flute is put through a reverb machine that adds an extra layer of drama. Best track is a toss up between “Yasuki-Bushi” and “Kokiriko Bushi”; the bossa-tinged “Soma Bon-Uta” and Axelrod-grade “Nanbu Ushioi-Uta” are heavy too. I’m doing everything in my power to stop buying more records like this but I don’t think I can pass this one up. Exceedingly hard to find in its original 1971 form, this high quality reissue from Mr Bongo is worth every yen and then some. Recommended.
- black vinyl pressing
- first time on vinyl since 1971
- housed in full repro gatefold jacket w/ Japanese liner notes
- music label: Mr Bongo 2019
reviewed by sunrise mart 11/2019