"A Day Of The Sun" is two Japanese jazz greats duo's album. Percussionist Masahiko Togashi (besides of pianist Masahiko Satoh) are key figure of Japanese free jazz,played with virtually everyone of important Japanese advanced jazz musician and recorded lot of albums,some of them (especially recorded in late 60s - early 70s)are part of Japanese jazz "golden fund". Acoustic bassist Isao Suzuki is even more legendary figure - in Japan he is usually titled "Godfather of Jazz".
Born in Tokyo in 1933,he started his jazz career in 1953 playing bass with Louis Armstrong when the later to Japan that year.I have read in Isao's interview that he was in Armstrong concert and next day found out that Armstrong band is searching for bassist. Isao asked his mother to buy him a bass (he never played the instrument before) and went to rehearsal. According to Isao, bandleader hired him and showed how to play bass - that's how he started.Later he played for two or three years in US Navy base band and than joined Jun Kiyomizu band - his first Japanese band ever.He played around Japan (mostly in local cabarets) till late 60s when "Ginpary"(or "Silver Paris" - psychedelic jam sessions on very early Japanese free jazz stage) fashion pushed mainstream jazz musicians aside.Isao still participated in some gigs and even was one-time member of quartet with Sadao Watanabe,Togashi and Kikuchi(that was one of "Ginpary" session where Isao met Masahiko Togashi for the first time).In 1969 he played with Art Blakey who invited him to America where Isao stayed for two years (mostly traveling around the country and Canada in old Caddilac with Art Blakey and playing gigs mostly in black clubs).Art Blakey's band of the time included George Cables,Woody Shaw and Ramon Morris.Isao played lot of jams with Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell,Elvin Jones,Duke Pearson and Lee Morgan among others. He spent a lot of time in Rudy Van Gelder recording studio as well where Rudy tough him many secrets of good recording sound.Isao even was a bassist in Ella Fitzgerald band, but when one day in airport on their way to Canada Art Blakey got basted on cocaine,Isao same day just took the flight back to Japan.On return he made a lot introducing his experience in development of jazz in Japan.His first albums for Three Blind Mices (cult audiophile label,kind Japanese ECM but with very physical,deep and warm sound)built recordings sound and mix quality standard for decades to come.In 1980 he released "Self-Portrait" - first ever one-man recording using multilayer techniques in Japanese jazz (Isao played 22 different instruments on this album).
Main Isao's personality importance is still that that he's one among few extremely respectable Japanese jazz artists having hard-bop background.Other his generation known jazzmen come mostly from big bands (formed under US bases orchestras influence),late 60s pushed ahead new noisy and angry generation which stepped right to radical avant-garde.
With all series of strong hard-bop albums,Isao stayed innovative for decades though. His second important influence was fusion,but he released albums containing Latin jazz or even modern electronic remixes. During his long career Isao played with percussionist Masahiko Tagashi quite regularly, on Masahiko's or his own albums. "A Day of The Sun" is duo's collaboration,significant for both artists. Similarly like fusion popularity fast decrease in mid-late 70s on Western jazz scenes left lot of jazz musicians on the thin ice (and sometimes without job),in Japan that time is a time when jazz lost its importance as major part of modern musical culture. One of popular trend where many previous avant-garde and fusion artists switched to became etno-influenced improvisational (often meditative) music. "A Day Of The Sun" (percussionist and bassist duo recording,both uses some synth and other instruments though) is one good example. Fortunately differently from many of similar releases music here doesn't become endless hypnotizing noodling and successfully avoids similarities with upcoming new age. Two musicians are both too big personalities and too great masters to fade to grey zone - even if there are very free form compositions presented,them all have lot of blood and bones (deep physical bass, multilayered and complex percussion,all the time changing rhythms and grooves); probably good comparison is some ECM early proto-ambient recordings, where sound still wasn't all that liquid and super-polished.
Togashi will continue developing same formula on his later works,Suzuki will return to his more usual mainstream jazz, but "A Day Of The Sun" will stay as great evidence of two giant collaboration and excellent example of non-boring improvisational music.