Sunday, August 23, 2009

Evolution Ensemble Unity- Concrete voices( EEU LP 01) 1976 -Kondo ,Takagi, Yoshida

Here's another rare Gem from Pierre , who has kindly offered to share this... rarity aside, most importantly this is Great Music..

Anyone not having had the opportunity to discover Toshinori Kondo , or who has only heard the very dissapointing pop jazz and fusion collaborations with Bill Laswell , can be assured that this is the real deal comparable to a great many wonderful independent releases from Europe ,and the States in the 'Golden Era' of the late 70's.

How to describe this varying record is another matter ... ecstatic yes ... thoughtful and replete with moments of sensitive interplay ... as well!
this touches a number of bases .. from familiar tunes such as Monks Brilliant Corners , and Lacy's Bone , both of which are accorded excitingly rag-tag rambunctious performances.... to all out Free improv.

Free music in the late seventies was still in an exploratory phase , and other than the requisite virtues and intensity's a lot of it was imbued with an unselfconscious humour , which to me seems largely lacking or strained in today's scene..
Certainly that element is present here in healthy doses.. it particularly infuses the aforementioned covers..

The meatiest track quite apart from its length for me at any rate is 'concrete voices' an interactive suite of freely developed motifs and variations thereof.
which brings to mind , a flayed mutant version of the nascent 'free jazz' classic 'out of nowhere' by Don Ellis( CANDID 1961)... also, one hears the spirit of Mingus at Antibes, and many touches of Pre Bop idioms, something that American bands, such as AIR and almost every other group of note were exploring at the time.

A beautiful record , undeservedly languishing as a grotesquely over priced 'collectors item' on auction sites.

HERE'S AN ALTERNATE(SOMEWHAT HISTRIONIC,& HYPERBOLIC) REVIEW.. FROM Tiliqua Records in Japan, who were selling this lp for $250.00 US Dollars

"EVOLUTION ENSEMBLE UNITY: “Concrete Voices” (EEU Records/ ALMRecords – EEU-001/ AL-3003) (Record: Near Mint/ Jacket: Near Mint/ 4-pagedBooklet: Near Mint). Hideously scarce Japanese private press free jazzmonster released in 1976 in collaboration with the legendary ALM KojimaRecords. The line-up for this legendary combo consisted out of sax howlingmonster Takagi Mototeru, trumpet and alto horn blower Toshinori Kondo andskin mangler/ bass mugger Mori Yoshida. The A-side of this disc was recordedlive in concert at the live house Kalavinka on November 2nd, 1976, therewere the B-side was conceived live at Space Out on September 24, 1976. AidaAquirax describes in his liner notes the EEU ensemble as the spear headersof the Japanese New Jazz Scene, the successors of the old school free jazzstages. And it makes sense especially when one realizes that a gutter-liketake on jazz academics gets entangled with a fire breathing freeimprovisation blowout, merging high art and low guts splendidly into onewrenching ball of well balanced but fierce improvisational interplay. TheEEU first got together on July 1975 and the sonic voyage they envision onthis – their sole - LP blends the aforementioned aesthetic by combiningoriginal blow outs with original takes on structural compositions by SteveLacey and Thelonius Monk (side a), only to fully blossom and pull open allregisters on the side long “Concrete Voices” track which can be seen as thetotal epic that maps out the wide range of free-fall interplay theperformance horizon of the EEU can accumulate. It merges a reductionistaesthetic to an impressionistic improvisation that follows no predeterminedharmony. Mototeru Takagi again shines through all of this, and for mepersonally he again proofs he was the hottest free jazz saxophone howler ofthe archipelago, the hardest gut-wrenching blower the Far East has everencountered. Toshinori Kondo also shines brightly with uncanny potential andadventurous moves, making this disc one of the unsung cornerstones ofimprovised music in Japan. Only a shame that almost no-one has ever heard ofthis beauty, partly due to its scarcity and extremely small pressednumbers….so time to get your collective headz out of yer asses and face themusic. This is the shit! Price: 250 Dollars"

Kondos my space
more good stuff-here
and here AND HERE


sotise said...


merci PIERRE!!

hideo said...


(and for the beaucoup other gems I'm just finding now)

Reza said...

wow thank you pierre and sotise !

1009 said...

Thanks Pierre & sotise. I'm very excited to hear this. Always amazed to hear free improv spoken as euro-centric vs. afro-centric. What does that view have to say about the independent development of Asian improv? According to folks like Takayanagi they hadn't even heard Derek Bailey or Evan Parker when the Asian folks started doing their own thing. The simple opposition doesn't hold up, I think, although I otherwise endorse almost everything George Lewis says.

sotise said...

1009, Takayanagi,started as a great mainstream modern jazz guitarist .. he didnt appear out of nowhere ... all those people undeniably had American jazz heroes , ever heard that great album 'cool jo jo 'where he revisits.... Tristano , Konitz, Charlie parker, and plays the tunes with the grungiest fucked up sound.....completely solo!

sotise said...

Actually my mistake , im thinking of the lp recorded in 1982, 'Lonely Woman'

1009 said...

Oh yes, definitely! There are some albums of his from the "pre-free" days, I think one on TBM? He does "Greensleeves" iirc? Yeah, I didn't mean to say that Japanese folks weren't playing with sounds they received from the west, just pointing out how T et al moved toward their own free playing independently of hearing Europeans or Americans doing it in the mid-60s. The common ingredient, I believe, is that all three groups were following out ideas implicit in the ("American") jazz they were already playing. American military bases all around the world (but particularly in Europe & Japan) spread the popularity of the music, then the musicians made it their own, at least partly I would say as a political gesture of independence.

That may be a bit overwrought.

Frédito lindo el philistin said...

Merci Pierre, merci Sotise, I will listen soon.
And thank you gentlemen for the discussion on influences, interesting.

Anonymous said...

Thanks indeed !

hookfinger said...

Thanks so much for this great lp. I have been enjoying it immensensly lately.

Frédito el philistin said...

Yes, an exquisite record !

Hookfinger said...

And nine months later, i am still digging the hell out of it! So thanks again!

Anonymous said...

looks like i missed a chance to grab this, hope there will be another one some day)


Al Billovich said...

such a pity! I'm to late for Kondo's FLAC :(