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Masayuki Takayanagi

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Category: Jazz Music Lounges
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Topic: Masayuki Takayanagi
Posted By: chrijom
Subject: Masayuki Takayanagi
Date Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 11:20am
Here are some albums which I feel to be amongst his best work. Please choose a favourite. If you don't know his work then it's definately worth checking out, especially if your of the avant-garde persuasion!

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 11:59am
with some interest towards Japanese advanced jazz and small collection of early free jazz I never heard Takayanagi music (know his name though). Probably his music is a bit different from what I'm usually interested in . And - as with almost any Japanese non-commercial release-I expect his albums are obscurities. 

Posted By: chrijom
Date Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 12:19pm
His music is mainly situated in the avant-garde vein, hence the selection of albums I've chosen here. However, throughout his career he did also have a latin, and cool jazz performing unit which were still active late in his career. Even his avant-garde work varies from out and out noise based material, through free jazz and into electronically processed free improv. And yes his albums can be hard to come by, but not all, with recent reissues on the Three Blind Mice label. One of my favourite free jazz guitarists.

Posted By: js
Date Posted: 20 Sep 2014 at 12:40pm
Electronically processed free improv sounds interesting.

Posted By: chrijom
Date Posted: 21 Sep 2014 at 9:45am
Yes, towards the end of his career he started to play the guitar as an 'object' whilst applying various found utensils to make the sound, which was then fed through effects or filtered through a small mixer. He called this 'Action Direct' and it was Fairly similar to the way that Keith Rowe from AMM has played for most of his career. Interesting soundscapes, but I prefer it when he plays the guitar in a more conventional manner, although free from strict tonality.

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 19 Apr 2015 at 2:36am
Got "Lonely Woman" at last. Standards played by Baileyesque solo guitar, just more liquid and soulful, not such dry and fast. Not such free and abstract as well, acoustically closer to rockish sound.

Previously heard Masayuki playing on one song of Hideto Kanai album ("Q"), it was more impressive

Will try to find more his solo albums - just to compare

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2015 at 6:29am
OK, my next try is "Ginparis Sessions", legendary place  - Japanese avant-garde jazz born there. But - the  year is 1963. Masayuki's collaborators are Masahiko Togashi, Hideto Kanai,Masabumi Kikuchi,Terumasa Hino,Yosuke Yamash*ta (among others) - creme de la creme of future Japanese adventurous jazz. But here on this live album all them play ... bop. Extremely interesting recordings historically, musically ... ok, I need to try his other album again

Posted By: chrijom
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2015 at 7:17am
"Lonely Woman" is a great album. As you say, standards played on solo electric guitar, however he does stretch it out through his improvisations moving more into freer territory and back again. One of my favourites. I agree with your comment about the "Ginparis sessions" - interesting to hear, but more of a historical document. Also if you can track it down, "Reason for Being" is another interesting one, a couple of standards played with bassist Nobuyoshi Ino and a few of Takayanagi's pieces that are more free jazz. There's also his "Second Concept" album which is his cool quartet which plays nothing but a set if standards. Happy hunting!

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2015 at 7:26am
you got me on Takayunagi Shocked  -   found few more

"Second Concept" (studio version) is very nice cool jazz, well played but not quirky enough to be special, still nice listening

Got "Reason For Being" as well, still need more spins to have my opinion

give me some more time and I'll become qualified enough to participate  in your poll Cool

Posted By: chrijom
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2015 at 2:20pm
Great stuff! If you fancy trying some of his more 'out there' albums then 'Independence', 'April is the Cruellest Month' and 'Eclipse' are good examples.

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 30 Apr 2015 at 2:26am
OK, "Reason For Being" is one from "Lonely Woman" group of Masayuki sound, adding bassist is interesting but in general he somehow plays softer and warmer here,even if it's a live recording. Of two, "Lonely Woman" has more character for me and is better one. Both are good albums - rare guitar free (or freer) jazz and plus having its own face.

My next step is 2011's "Solo"

Posted By: chrijom
Date Posted: 30 Apr 2015 at 10:46am
Interesting! I prefer "Reason for Being" as I prefer the softer 'jazzier' sound of the guitar, but both are good and there's not much between them for me. I like "Solo" and there is some nice free playing on it especially when he improvises away from the heads. Enjoy!

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 30 Apr 2015 at 1:36pm
"Solo" is similarly good as two above, but probably too "same" for me - of all three I still prefer "Lonely Woman".

Finishing my Takayanagi investigation for a while must to mention that the last in line was his "Kaitai Teki Kohkan" - and this one is most interesting for me. Duo with sax player Kaoru Abe - one of rare very early radical free jazz attack, kind of Broetzmann's "Machine Gun" but with guitar. One can hear roots of Japanese later avant-rock and brutal guitar improvs (Keiji Haino,etc) here - very interesting.Not like I listen such music often, but as for researcher on Japanese free jazz this is most interesting album of all I listened from Takayanagi. His more jazzy music is really more beautiful, but for me it reminds some other great jazz guitarists (non-free). In all - I am really happy I did these series of his music listening, it's even strange I didn't dig it earlier - besides of Masahiko Satoh and Masahiko Togashi I investigate in very details,he's cornerstone of Japanese free jazz.

Posted By: chrijom
Date Posted: 01 May 2015 at 1:54am
Kaitai Teki kohkan was the first Takayanagi I heard which I bought in Japan when on holiday. Interesting stuff but a bit harsh for me, so doesn't get as many spins as some of his others. Glad you enjoyed it!

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 26 May 2015 at 8:56am
After some break returned back to Takayanagi's music - this time I got two his albums: "850113" and "Live At Moers". I afraid here my opinion will be quite polar to yours.

Album with lot of numbers in title is one of least interesting Masayuki works for me. It's quite accessible and generally pleasant listening, but.... it's not all that much interesting. Four pieces (could be one or eight -doesn't matter) recorded live during 65 minutes rockish jam. Masayuki's techniques is much more sophisticated comparing with just another rock shredder, but generally he starts and finishes at the same point - and I will lie if will say there is something added between start and finish. I will hardly call this music improvs - it's more jam session, kind of Masayuki plays "Grateful Dead". What I don't like here - it's his guitar sound. I can enjoy him playing bop or cool jazz even if both aren't my cup of tea. And I really like him for his early noise-jazz - I believe his place in history is guaranteed right because of this. But - mid-tempo to lazy distorted guitar,sometimes on the shredding border? Is he a rock star? Probably that rock aesthetics in combination with directionless is main reason of my partial disappointment. There are more jazzy parts which sounds better though, but it didn't save common impression.

"Live At Moers" is different - and much better for me. Starting from very first seconds - very his "Coleman"-like take on guitar in combination with shamanic narrative in German and Japanese - this works!  "Blood" Ulmer's translation to Japanese with domestic taste, here I see where from later cult Japanese avant-rock and all these brutal improvisers came from (from Ruins to Haino Keiji,etc,etc).
There are some longish parts,but whole album looks being too short for editing. Plus sound -Three Blind Mice (even live recording's) sound is a head higher in quality than Akita's.

Expecting to get two more Takayanagi's albums soon Big smile

Posted By: chrijom
Date Posted: 21 Jun 2015 at 9:12am
Cool! Don't give up on 850113, it's charm isn't obvious to begin with and it certainly isn't immediate. Here he's walking a fine line between traditional tonal jazz and free improv, more in line with a type of free bop, atonal melodies without being too angular and traditional rhythms and interplay. I know what you mean about the sound of his guitar on this one and I initially found this a bit of an obstacle, but now I've come to see how it suits the music. Definately not a jam though, much more subtle and sophisticated for that. It seems like you prefer the much more avant-noise part of his repertoire, which your right, has influenced many artists after him. What other albums are you getting? Let us know what you think!

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 21 Jun 2015 at 12:46pm
the next one is "Archive 2" and it's a Takayanagi's album I listened most of his all till now

this one is from noise-jazz series, but not too loud, and with unique white noise component

Posted By: chrijom
Date Posted: 22 Jun 2015 at 11:54am
Haven't heard that one. I've got Archive 1, but haven't listened to it that much, mainly because it's quite an undertaking being 5 Discs worth of live material! Still, interesting stuff!

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 22 Jun 2015 at 12:17pm
Archive 2 is regular single CD, just around 45 minutes long, two compositions

two guitarists and percussionist trio

it's recorded not so early as some his other material so there already was noise as musical genre around, but still this sound is quite personal

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 02 Aug 2016 at 12:43am
After some break returned back to Takayanagi  music.

"Eclipse" (1975) was extremely noisy guitars improvs album, quite interesting for the time of release but hardly an album for regular listening 

and - "April Is The Cruellest Month" is seriously good

Posted By: chrijom
Date Posted: 20 Aug 2016 at 1:03am
Good to hear your back on the Takayanagi! Yes I prefer 'April...' out of those two. Have you heard 'Independance'? It's one of his earlier avant-garde albums with a nice mix between themes and harsher/noise sounds. I think you'd like it.

Posted By: snobb
Date Posted: 25 Aug 2016 at 3:59am
yeh, "Independance" is good album for my taste - free,but nit too noisy or chaotic, creative - in early late 60s-early 70s excellent creative jazz tradition

probably sounds a bit dated today but again it has that great spirit of its time

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