Akira Sakata/Toshimaru Nakamura/Raiga Hayashi

May 15, 2024

Kinjo no Tabibito
Meenna 053

As powerful an improvisers at 79 as he has been for the past 50-odd years, Japan’s Akira Sakata is still open enough to innovation to immerse himself in novel musical situations. That how the alto saxophonist/clarinetist, who usually works in acoustic settings, is involved in these two lengthy live improvisations with not only reformed punk drummer Raiga Hayashi, but also the noises created by Toshimaru Nakamura’s no input mixing board.

Nakamura, who often plays with questing improvisers like Axel Dörner, created his instrument to reroute the signal back into the mixer with knobs and faders used to alter feedback. So while Sakata and Hayashi are squirting augmented surges of dissonant timbres into the program, the board’s whizzes and drones are omnipresent.

Since the board outputs subdued as well as strident noises, Sakata’s reed ejaculations vary accordingly. Nakamura’s emphasized harsh and dissected static brings out saxophone split tones, snarls and spetrofluctuation. The board’s pulsating chirps and whistling hisses are met with clarion clarinet trills and flutters. Coarse textures can flow in the opposite direction as well. That’s especially obvious when Sakata amplifies his altissimo screams and reed bites with vocalized growls, yelps and rants that sound as if a Samuri warrior is hyping himself for a duel to the death. Throughout all this Hayashi outputs an assortment of paradiddles, ruffs, backbeats and rebounds, tailoring his beats to the shifting sound landscape around him.

Satisfying in its power and progression Kinjo no Tabibito demonstrates that Sakata can collaborate with improvisers about 20 (Nakamura) and more than 55 (Hayashi) years younger than him – and go beyond their contributes to create a singular and uncommon session.

–Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. 1st  Set 2. 2nd Set

Personnel: Akira Sakata (alto saxophone, clarinet and narration); Toshimaru Nakamura (no input mixing board) and Raiga Hayashi (drums)