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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.

After its start in 2013 Arashi has been a steady group, doing numerous tours in Europe and Japan, and PNL Records is
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ARASHI Akira Sakata / Johan Berthling / Paal Nilssen-Love : Arashi album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Akira Sakata / Johan Berthling / Paal Nilssen-Love : Arashi
Avant-Garde Jazz 2014
ARASHI Semikujira album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Avant-Garde Jazz 2016

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ARASHI Trost Live Series album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Trost Live Series
Avant-Garde Jazz 2017
ARASHI Jikan album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Avant-Garde Jazz 2019

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ARASHI Semikujira

Album · 2016 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
74 years old veteran of Japanese avant-garde jazz reedist Akira Sakata leads furious acoustic trio with two young Scandinavians - Swedish bassist Johan Berthling and Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. The name of the trio is Arashi("Storm"), and their second album,released two years after their self-tittled debut,recorded in Swedish studio and released on Austrian label, is titled "Semikujira"("North Pacific Whale").

Paal Nilssen-Love is extremely prolific artist and producer pushing all Nordic adventurous noisy jazz ahead, bassist Berthling is known as Swedish super bands Angles and Fire!/Fire! Orchestra member, so one can expect really muscular and quirky rhythm section work here - they fulfill expectations in full. Still main star of the show is Akira himself,who not only plays alto sax and clarinet, but adds lot of vocalize (which hardly can be called "singing").

Differently from many other Akira's more abstract works, Arashi is power trio which plays well framed muscular free jazz in New York of 80s tradition, but on very Japanese manner. Over the tight rhythm basis Akira blows some attacking if quite soulful sax soloing, but much more impressive is his absolutely shamanic vocalizes in Japanese,repetitive,hypnotizing and very organic.

From songs titles it's obvious that Japanese folklore, or better to say - ritualistic songs were taken as source of inspiration, and the result is not less than fascinating. Without loosing trad songs structure and some melodious component,power trio reworks them right to free jazz shamanic compositions which surprisingly enough don't lose their relation with shamanic nature of originals.For sure Sakata's voice is not for everyone taste, but those familiar with Japanese brutal avant-rock or experimental radical free jazz (which was a main source of inspiration for John Zorn series of early releases),or fans of Diamanda Gallas' singing will accept Akira's vocal pyrotechnics without big problems.

Arashi's debut two years ago received lot of positive critics, their second work is even better.

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