30 August, 2018

Kyoto Jazz Sextet - Mission (2015)

Genre: Jazz | Total Time: 59:15 | Size: 134.83 MB | MP3 320 kbps
01. Search for the New Land (Morgan) - 9:10
02. Speak No Evil (Shorter) - 8:39
03. The Melting Pot (Hubbard) - 7:29
04. Succotash (Hancock) - 7:22
05. Mr. Jin (Shorter) - 7:56
06. Jinrikisha (Henderson) - 7:54
07. Up a Step (Mobley) - 4:30
08. Eclipse (Okino-Okino-Kurobane-Yoshizawa) - 6:21

There is something fascinating about the Japanese nu-jazz act Kyoto Jazz Massive and the two brothers behind it. What started in the late 1990s as a nu-jazz project of two brothers (Shuya Okino and Yoshihiro Okino) has evolved into a whole new scene, many great acts and solo artists. Without Kyoto Jazz Massive and the Okino brothers there would be no Kyoto Jazz Sextet and the nu-jazz / jazz scene in Japan would be much poorer.
The role of both Shuya and Yoshihiro with their musical dynasty has been more of a visionary since either of them don’t play any instruments. Both do DJing, Yoshihiro runs a record label and store (Especial Records) and both have done programming for Kyoto Jazz Massive and other acts they’ve created. Now in Kyoto Jazz Sextet only Shuya is involved and the role is again as a producer and a visionary. The co-producer of Mission is another famous Japanese producer Kenichi Ikeda (aka Root Soul), who was already involved in the highly acclaimed Kyoto Jazz Massive debut Spirit of the Sun and has produced many great nu-jazz songs together with Shuya.
The band behind Kyoto Jazz Sextet consists of five skilled Japanese jazz musicians (+ Shuya Okino): you have Yusuke Hirado on piano who is well-known for Quasimode, Shinpei Ruike (trumpet) and Takeshi Kurihara (tenor saxophone) on horns, Yoshihito “P” Koizumi on the bass and Masanori Amakura on the drums. What we are missing are the former Kyoto Jazz Massive and Sleepwalker contributors like Hajime Yoshizawa (I really miss his beautiful Rhodes solos), Masato Nakamura and Tomokazu Sugimoto but that doesn’t take credits away from the band – they play together very nicely!
Mission is filled with classic jazz songs. All songs except “Eclipse” are from the jazz super heroes like Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and Herbie Hancock. It means that either Shuya Okino has been a bit lazy or the album is a mark of respect to the godfathers of jazz. It is still very enjoyable to listen to these classics being played with such esteem as the band does. It is also great to hear “Eclipse”, the biggest hit by the Okino brothers, being played in a similar manner and to fit among the classics. You can check the snippets of the album songs from Kyoto Jazz Sextet’s SoundCloud page.
As said the album is very good and strongly recommended. It’s also a good view for current Japanese jazz scene – which is going strong! Let’s just hope that Kyoto Jazz Sextet won’t be another project or a concept album for Shuya Okino, but would actually get more studio time and releases. I personally would like to hear this band more!
-- othersoundz

Shinpei Ruike - trumpet
Takeshi Kurihara, Naruyoshi Kikuchi (#2,8) - tenor saxophone
Yusuke Hirado - piano
Yoshihito P Koizumi - bass
Masanori Amakura - drums
Shuya Okino - vision
Hiderow (Conguero Tres Hoofers) - percussion (#3)

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