Album Review

Satoh, Masahiko & Soundbreakers – “Amalgamation” – [Phoenix Records]

WCMurphy19   3/16/2011   A Library, CD

Amalgamation is a 1970 project by Japanese jazz piano virtuoso Masahiko Satoh and the Soundbreakers, evoking the spirit of Bitches Brew, Pink Floyd and Satoh???s own ruthless use of themes from the war and post war industrial experience. The effect is more of a visual audio poem than a 1970s modern jazz-rock jam, though it advances the spirit of the times.

Track one (15:45) opens with a grumbling, spreading atomic roar over the drums of Detroit-based Louis Hayes, then the sounds of machine guns and archaic radio voice of someone declaiming in the Japanese language (the Emperor?). It relaxes into a composed horn section, then picks up again with guitarist Kimio Mizutani and Hayes throwing shadow punches at each other, and eventually turns into a thrashing Fender Rhodes solo by Satoh, and visits with the Wehnne Strings Consort along the way.

Track two (21:17) is more Bitches Brew, but at every moment you can tell the horn player, traditional Japanese instruments player, drummer and pianist are reaaaally listening to each other.

Very well composed and moving through many phases, I like this one. Your listener will not get bored; this is more an extended composition than spastic-fest.

Page of Wands, 3/16/11

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