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Akihiro Yoshimoto Quartet: 64 Charlesgate
Saxophonist Akihiro Yoshimoto’s 62 Charlesgate is a 2022 album where he showcases both his original music and a group of young musicians from the Japanese jazz scene. The quartet is made up of saxophone, trombone, bass, and drums, with no chordal instrument like piano or guitar filling up the comping harmonies. The resulting music, composed for two horns to play melodies in union, harmony, counterpointing, or trading phrases, has a well-suited sound for Yoshimoto’s organized yet free and open concept on this album.
On 64 Charlesgate, there are elements of free Ornette Coleman-style jazz, moments of simultaneous improvisation, and melodic cycles and horn loops similar to Dave Holland’s Quintet or even approaching John Zorn territory. Yet the music is not chaotically explosive, but more like playful abandon in the structured framework that Yoshimoto lays out for each track.
Kicking off the album, Yoshimoto’s “Funny Book” gets to the heart of the matter with quirky riffs parading vibrantly before introducing open sections for free improvisation. This song is played twice, included as both the album opener and closer in an alternate version. The choice to repeat this particular composition was perhaps made to emphasize the balance of cooperative unity and the individual passions of improvisation, combined also with a sense of humor and fun.
Picking album highlights is difficult as the whole album hangs well together with special characteristic moments in each song. As far as first impressions, fresh ears may perk up on track #2 “Trash Box”, the origami-like multifold form and rock groove, the slow buildup of #6 “Mud Drawing” and its well-developed outro section, and the exciting chase-scene energy and dramatic time shifts on #7 “Silly Rabbit” and #9 “Mr. R”.
The album also includes two shorter songs inserted like brief asides: Tracks #3 “Interlude” and #8 “Ocean add a suite or concept feeling to the entire album and calm the ears in less than two minutes each, like muted buffer zones of repose and curiosity.
64 Charlesgate by Akihiro Yoshimoto Quartet
Akihiro Yoshimoto - saxophone
Nanami Haruta - trombone
Raiga Hayashi - drums
Makoto Togashi - bass
Released in 2022 on Quint Co. Ltd. / Chitei Records as B102F.
Japanese names: Akihiro Yoshimoto 吉本章紘 Nanami Haruta 治田七海 Raiga Hayashi 林頼我 Makoto Togashi 冨樫マコト
Audio and Video
Excerpt from "Funny Book", the first track on this album: