Daimonji — Improg
(Musea FGBG 4522.AR, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2004-09-01We really shouldn’t be surprised at the number of different projects involving keyboardist Hoppy Kamiyama and drummer Tatsuya Yoshida. After all, back in the 60s, nobody thought it was odd that Herbie Hancock and Tony Williams ended up on so many people’s records. Those two free agents are joined by bassist Nasuno Mitsuru for this set of improvised music, the offshoot of their warm-ups for another group that features them all, the Jun Togawa Band. Unlike much improvised music, they don’t really wander into anything resembling free jazz or typical droning rock jams, but manage a surprisingly coherent flow, with varying sections following each other spontaneously. They originally called themselves Improg, but eventually settled on Daimonji and gave their first album the old band name (they have since released a follow-up, which I have not yet heard). “Improg” suits the music perfectly, as it is improvised but sounds amazingly like progressive rock, mostly due to Kamiyama’s keyboard style; he relies heavily on electric piano and single-line synthesizer parts, and doesn’t often venture into pure atonality. Yoshida follows his lead telepathically with his characteristic loose-but-tight playing toned down a bit from his jazzier work or Ruins. Both Kamiyama and Yoshida indulge themselves from time to time with borderline goofy singing, and when they mimic the instrumental parts vocally the result is an illusion of pre-arrangement. The net result is an improvised album that could very well appeal to listeners who are not fond of improvised albums.
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more