One of most respectable among living jazz bass legends,Gary Peacock quite surprisingly released his debut as leader in Japan, in 1970. After almost decade of playing in US as session musician and seven years after his recording debut (with trumpeter Don Ellis quartet), Peacock recorded "Eastward" in Japan,where in 1969 he stayed for two years for (non-musical) studies and investigation of Zen Buddhism.
Two other trio's members are still almost unknown local musicians pianist Masabumi Kikuchi and drummer Hiroshi Murakami. After very few month Kikuchi will rich his probably most successful point of musical career releasing series of Miles Davis-influenced fusion albums, but for the day of recording "Eastward" he was just rising young pianist with a few recordings behind.
Seven album's compositions are all rooted in post-bop (mostly because of quite straight drummer Murakami beat),but Kikuchi advanced piano playing and Peacock deep physical and quite free bass both push the music towards more modern sound than just ordinary mainstream jazz of the time.
Initially released in Japan only as vinyl LP, this album was true obscurity,but re-issued on CD in 2015 (in Japan only as well)now it is easier available for both Peacock and Kikuchi fans. Reissue sound quality and mix are excellent (as almost any Japanese jazz recording coming from 70s)and it's really a pleasure to hear how well this music sounds now, after 45 years.
Starting from his very first Japanese recordings and up to current time Peacock developed his signature Zen jazz sound - that unique atmosphere of calmness,well controlled passion and melodic meditativeness. He will play with Kikuchi and other Japanese jazz musicians quite often during his long career, and will co-found some successful projects with Paul Motian who's music fits perfectly under same aesthetic umbrella.
On his debut Peacock (and all trio) shows still very first,but already significant signs of musical style he will become famous for. Excellent example of creative modern jazz of early 70s, comparing with Peacock later more matured works for ECM music here is less chamber,less polished and more lively.