Exposé Online banner

Stick Men Featuring Mel Collins — Roppongi - Live in Tokyo 2017, Show 1
(Iapetus no#, 2017, DL)

Stick Men Featuring Mel Collins — Roppongi - Live in Tokyo 2017, Show 2
(Iapetus no#, 2017, DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-10-22

Roppongi - Live in Tokyo 2017, Show 1 Cover artRoppongi - Live in Tokyo 2017, Show 2 Cover art

The last live recording by Stick Men was Midori, recorded on the 2015 Japan tour, presenting two complete shows with special guest David Cross. Stick Men have a new studio album, have been touring off and on for months, and so it’s time for another live release. Like its predecessor, Roppongi presents two full sets of music recorded in Japan with a guest, in this case Mel Collins. Several of the band’s standards are present, including a handful that also appeared on Midori: “Hide the Trees,” “Crack the Sky,” “Satori in Tangier,” “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part 2,” and “Industry.” There are also a couple more King Crimson pieces added to the mix: “Level 5” and “Sailor’s Tale.” We get three tracks from Prog Noir, one of them in two versions from the different shows, plus three pieces from Stick Men’s back catalog. Add in some improvisations, and you’ve got Roppongi. If you’ve heard or seen this band before, you’re familiar with the basic sound of Tony Levin and Markus Reuter on tapping instruments and Pat Mastelotto on drums, and you’re likely aware that this is not a band that plays everything the same all the time. While much of the music is tightly rehearsed, there’s a lot of room for expression and variation, and the added presence of Collins assures that this is not just two more CDs of live Stick Men music. His flute and sax liven things up and provide nice contrasts to the other instruments. There are even some spots where Collins throws some pretty crazy effects onto his sax, as on “Level 5.” It’s a treat listening to these superb musicians at the top of their game, and while I’d probably recommend a studio album like Prog Noir to a newbie, this is an excellent example of their artistry. In spite of the inclusion of so much King Crimson material, this band is worthy in its own right, with its own take on the familiar music. The value of Roppongi is not in the fact that the world needed another live album by this band, but just the fact that it’s just so damn good. We are long past the days when music executives sat back and decided when the market could bear another live album by an artist, and what we got was based on their calculations of profit margins. This is a time when quality can count for something, at least in certain realms.

[Note that Roppongi is available in a variety of forms in different parts of the world. In the US, Moonjune is distributing a 2CD set covering both shows, which are available as separate downloads from Iapetus as well.]


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Tony Levin, Mel Collins, Pat Mastelotto, Markus Reuter, Stick Men

More info
http://stickmen-moonjune.bandcamp.com/album/roppongi
http://stickmen.bandcamp.com/album/roppongi-live-in-tokyo-2017-show-1

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Trees - On the Shore – The Trees was a British folk rock band formed in 1969 that sputtered out in 1972, barely leaving a footnote in musical history. Their two albums The Garden of Jane Delawney and On the Shore have...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues