4 January 2012

AKIRA MIYAZAWA - FOUR UNITS




















 Akira Miyazawa for Union Japan from 1969. 
Akira Miyazawa: tenor sax, flute; Masahiko Satoh: piano; Yasuo Arakawa: bass; Masahiko Togashi: drums.

The name Akira Miyazawa, rarely if ever, appears in jazz reference books, at least not in ones available in North America. Other than some sites selling his CDs, the internet does not offer much about the saxophonist. This is a shame since his recordings tell the story of an accomplished musician whose work has remained intriguing and fresh after almost four decades.
Four Units is a 1969 session that teams him with a Japanese rhythm sections for four originals and a jazzy reworking of "Scarborough Fair." The music threads the outer reaches of hard bop, adjacent to but not quite into the avant-garde realm. It also has a very Oriental feel to it, with the beautiful serenity of a Japanese Zen garden and the bluesy edge of a late night jam session.
The opening title track is the most adventurous. After Miyazawa's tenor sax states the angular but still melodious theme, the rhythm section improvises together and solos in tandem, using notes sparingly and the space between them very effectively. The other pieces also are edgy hard bop in style, with some adventurous soloing by Miyazawa on tenor and flute, along with the other members of the group. The closer, "Black Bass," is the closest to traditional hard bop.
Miyazawa sounds like Sonny Rollins on tenor but with slightly less bite in his tone. He only plays a little flute which, however, is not that memorable. Pianist Masahiko Satoh, who also arranged "Scarborough Fair," demonstrates strong classical sensibilities. Bassist Yasuo Arakawa and drummer Masahiko Togashi - who sounds a bit like Elvin Jones - have a unique rapport with each other when playing behind Miyazawa and Satoh in addition to being accomplished soloists in their own right.
Four Units reveals a unique and talented musician whose work deserves better and more widespread recognition. Review by Hrayar Attarian for AMG.

The very finest in Japanese Jazz....

18 comments:

Bacoso said...

http://www.mediafire.com/?c1qjyopbyms4w69

bongohito said...

Wow.
Just wow.
Stunning.
Thanks v much and Happy New Year to Bacoso and all you OIR-ers....

chano said...

Looking good. Thanks Bacoso, and a very Happy 2012 to you!

Wallofsound said...

Many thanks

the jazzstronaut said...

Cheers Bacoso.

Simon666 said...

Thanks bacoso!

corvimax said...

enjoyable, thank you

sitarswami said...

I've been listening to a lot of Sato recently and this is a delightfully unexpected find. Thanks.

taro nombei said...

yes indeed — fantastic stuff Bacoso!

Bender said...

Thanks a lot!

Margarine said...

Hi there Bacoso,


So many THANKS for your fine taste for quality music and unique postings.. ^x^ ! All of this is relatively new to me.. Well, sorta..


While listning and browsing through your materials, I all of a sudden realised.. I've lived in the Netherlands in a little town called Nijmegen and moved to Amsterdam a few years ago, both cities called 'home' by Nina Simone for a little while during the early 80's. Both cities have a quiete active, high-standard jazz / jazz-rock fusion live-scene, LOADS of battling crazy horns and Rhodes..

During the late-80's/90's I've recorded many hours of live performances for a pirate/squated radio station in Nijmegen onto a (back then) state-of-the-art digital MZ-R30 mini-disk recorder with a home-brew microphone system wich sounded great, directly fit for broadcasting! Many recordings often represented a unique and wide-variety blend of different (well-known) musicians, styles and improvisation, at many ocasions I was the ONLY 'mike' around! Until..

Bad luck struck! The pirate-station was taken off-air by police and years later I lost ALL master disks due to a fire! I remember myself being very causious handing out any 'bootlegs' (I only wish.. *sighs*..), except for musicians and pub-owners. The scene moved on, replaced by the next generation, a little different but also very much the same (It's been quiete empty for a while due to gouv. non-smoking policy. No sigars, NO JAZZ!)..


Back then we didn't have much money to buy many records, so we had no clue what was going on in the record industry, think pré-affordable-internet days (TEXT-mode even, lol!), no blogs, etc.. THANKS for allowing me to enjoy these wonderful themes once more..


A wonderful 2012 to everyone, Marg!

L'ESPERIT D'ESNAOLA said...

vos sou grumet de pista lliure i jazz desconegut per gent molt experta, oi?

kenmatorama said...

Super Bacoso!

Rab Hines said...

Wow - Akira is super hard to come across. I only have him on a Mal Waldron session.

Looking forward to this, thanks.

Andy said...

Many thanks kind sir.

Sem Sinatra said...

I live in Japan right now and the Jazz scene is for me the most exciting. Amazing music being played in little basement clubs to a handful of customers. Thanks for uncovering this old recording.

Chistochel said...

Not my cup of tea for some reason.

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