Isao Suzuki - ApproachLABEL: BBE Music
BBE Music’s highly-acclaimed J Jazz Masterclass Series continues with an album that unites three J Jazz legends with a young musician beginning their professional career. Recorded and released in 1986, ‘Approach’ is both sophisticated and experimental in equal measure, balancing serene ambient moments with thunderous and dynamic explosions of energy. ‘Approach’ was originally issued on the Art Union label and sees bass uber- maestro Isao Suzuki, percussion and drumming icon Masahiko Togashi, and keyboard wizard Hideo Ichikawa join together with neophyte guitarist Akira Shiomoto to deliver a first-class showcase of contemporary jazz across five tracks, demonstrating their individual talents working as one unified ensemble. Suzuki’s deeply resonant and pliant basslines move sinuously across the album, supporting Togashi’s ebullient flashes of percussion and Ichikawa’s lush textures and colourations; topping it all off is the young Shiomoto’s guitar adding melodic texture and shine. Opening with ‘Make Trip’, Ichikawa’s gentle introduction makes way for a change of gear as Suzuki’s bass drives the band along before Togashi’s drum and percussion centrepiece solo leads to the outro. The plaintive and bluesy ‘Otari’ follows next, with Ichikawa’s piano flowing around and between the rhythmic undertow from Suzuki and Togashi. Things turn slightly more experimental on ‘Mysterious’ as Suzuki, the piece’s composer, turns to arco bass effects and Ichikawa employs synthesiser and electronic textures to add colour to the palette.