During the 70s, the Japanese jazz scene was in an incredibly intense phase - one that had players breaking out of older modes that were often strict copies of American jazz, and working in newer styles that often blended soul, modal, and spiritual jazz with freer-thinking ideas and more Eastern-inspired modes. The result was an incredible batch of music that was probably more strongly recorded by the Three Blind Mice label than any other Japanese imprint - because unlike some of their contemporaries, TBM didn't fill their catalog with work by American players, and often focused exclusively on Japanese artists.
On this CD, Isao Nakamura presents a selection of works for solo percussion which – despite some very demanding technical passages – do not focus primarily on technical brilliance but on clear, focused artistic ideas, as well as, in some cases, extra-musical concepts. The main focus here is on drums. As the only instruments tuned to a specific pitch, in this CD the timpani features in two movements of Elliott Carter's "Eight Pieces for Four Timpani" and in Peter Eötvös's "Thunder".
Born in Osaka, educated at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, Momo Kodama is well-placed to approach music from both Eastern and Western vantage points, as she does in this album which interweaves etudes of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and Toshio Hosokawa (born 1955). Both composers have similarly been border-crossers. Debussy, pointing to music of the future, looked to the Orient for inspiration. Hosokawa has combined aspects of Japanese and European tradition in his contemporary compositions.
Toshio Hosokawa is a Japanese composer born in Hiroshima. This release brings together three concertos written by Hosokawa since his first mature works in the late eighties. They range over a period of roughly ten years, and are each marked by similar musical concerns, concerns treated in different ways according to the particular instrumental forces utilised.