Takayanagi Masayuki’s “Angry Waves, another side of his free jazz in the 80s on #neuguitars #blog #TakayanagiMasayuki
We have seen how the album “Archive 2”, a single cd, containing the complete recording of the second part of the concert recorded as vol.57 (played on September 24, 1984, in Shibuya Jean-Jean) was probably the last documented performance of the New Direction Unit, before the arrival of the new form “Action Direct”, in which Takayanagi deliberately came to destroy the traditional way of playing the guitar. Around the same time, however, Takayanagi was exploring new possibilities in free jazz with Angry Waves.
As documented in the cd “Dislocation”, (Jinya Disc – B-06, 2005) the result of a live recording on December 26, 1983, at the Akita No Mise1 club, Angry Waves were initially a duo formed by Takayanagi himself and the drummer Yamazaki Hiroshi, who has been his loyal companion for a long time, accompanied, for the occasion, on the piano by Fumio Yasuda2, versatile composer and pianist, born in Tokyo in 1953. The CD features four tracks, simply entitled First, Second, Third and Fourth, which express well the improvised live dimension in which they were spontaneously created. A flow of thoughts and actions that testify to the initial will of this new formation to go in different directions from those previously explored.
We have the opportunity to listen to them again in more depth and with a more extensive repertoire with the live recording (divided into two CDs) of the show of August 26, 1984, at the Yokoyama Airegin, in the trio formation with Nobuyoshi Ino on bass and Hiroshi Yamazaki on drums, both, as we have already seen, at the forefront of Tokyo’s free music scene and regular collaborators of Takayanagi. The recording comes from the guitarist’s private tapes, and while the sound quality is hit and miss, the music is so good that any hi-fi deficiencies are forgotten.
1Historic jazz venue in Nishi-Ogikubo, Tokyo. Opened in February 1974 and owned by pianist Katagawa Shoji, it seats about 30 people. http://www.aketa.org
2As Nobuyoshi Araki comments, “Yasuda’s music is sometimes sentimental and sometimes almost insane. It has a way of getting under one’s skin and touching both body and soul.” Fumio Yasuda Official Web Site (Biography)
These CDs (Jinya Disc B-29 and B-30), released in 2016, show a rarely documented side of Takayanagi’s career, a trait d’union between the extreme sonic experiments commonly associated with him and his other sources of jazz inspiration more ‘traditional’. In this case, the link with African-American free jazz is strong, and in particular with the sound world of Albert Ayler, whose songs are mentioned in half of the titles, even if the original themes, when they actually appear, provide only a vague melodic frame and harmonica in which the players move freely. In fact, most of the songs share the title of a piece by Ayler, but with the prefix “Fab” inserted in front, such as “Fab Prophet”, which opens Vol.1 or “Fab Spirits”. The trio operate very much in the “spirit of Ayler”, Ayler’s trademark fervor, spiritual energy and expressive urgency can still be traced in the way the trio approaches the performance, where Takayanagi’s guitar takes center stage scene with a sharp and powerful sound, carefully maintained this side of the noise with elegance and unusual restraint, while the rhythm section supports him with a kaleidoscopic activity that always pushes in new directions. Ino’s bass is particularly effective, anchoring the pieces while engaging in constant dialogue with the leader’s guitar, thanks in part to Yamazaki’s diverse drum work, which frees his bandmates from adhering to a rigid rhythmic frame. There’s also room for a couple of ballads, one for each record, that bring out Takayanagi’s lyrical side and balance the frenetic approach of the other songs.
We find the same lineup in one of his best known albums, the classic album “850113” (the date it was recorded). Recorded at the Hamamatsu seibu City-8 Hall concert and released in the same year by Aketa’s Disk, it was for a long time the only testimony of this formation, centered on the more traditional guitar-bass-drums trio.
We also find here Ino Nobuyoshi and Yamazaki Hiroshi. Also on this occasion the four pieces have only the first four digits as titles and are the expression of a single sound-musical flow. Having these four albums is of real historical significance for all Takayanagi fans. For guitarists, this formation is placed between the works produced by the New Direction Unit ensemble and the extreme productions for solo table guitar and electronics by Action Direct.
While the goal of both of these formations could be found in the use of noise-based materials to create different types of music, the Angry Waves trio works in a more traditional way with regard to instrumental roles, using a more established free-jazz vocabulary . “850113” in particular displays a more mature and independent sonic identity from the debt of honor shown to Albert Ayler on the 1984 recordings. These extended improvisations are complex and show a somewhat stream-of-consciousness, with Takayanagi’s guitar playing ever present with its uninterrupted flow of lines and its perpetual motion guiding and controlling the shape of the music itself. There is a creative industriousness in this music, constantly pushed and supported by the metallic and motor noise of Yamazaki’s drums, while Ino with her double bass acts as a lifeline, as a universal glue, representing the perfect counterpart to Takayanagi’s way of playing . The Angry Waves express a great freedom of execution, without Takayanagi going so far as to detract from the rhythm, flowing lines or more traditional sounds as sometimes happens in some other recordings. This distinguishes his guitar playing from both what he recorded with New Direction Unit and Action Direct, as well as his “coolest” recordings labeled with his “Jojo” nickname and solo records. Angry Waves seem to have existed to give Takayanagi the chance to explore the potential of a traditional trio, and although they only existed for a short time, less than two years, they nevertheless represented an important stylistic figure within his career, not only for the historical aspect but above all for the music produced. Artistically they form a single statement and another possibility to listen to his guitar in a new, unprecedented form.