Live! (Blu-Spec CD/Mini-LP Sleeve)
The Japanese jazz scene is finally getting the attention it deserves. Long written off as just a scene filled with copycats of American and European artists, jazz fans around the world are now discovering that there was some amazing music being created there. Some of the musicians like Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi crossed over into the world jazz scene but for the most part many of the musicians there only gained popularity in Japan. One of the most important Japanese jazz labels from the 70s was Three Blind Mice. It was started in 1970 by producer Takeshi "Tee" Fuji. The label adhered to strict audiophile standards and all of the releases on the label featured exemplary sonics. The music of Three Blind Mice tended to fall into three facets of jazz (they would crossover from time to time). Some of the artists play very traditional straight ahead jazz. Frankly while this stuff appeals to audiophiles its not that appealing beyond the sonics. There was also an experimental side to the label featuring a lot of free jazz blowing. The third aspect, which to my ears is the most interesting, is the area where the label explored modal jazz, often with an electric element. Very little of it would be hard card fusion, but a rock element would sometimes be present. This falls into the realm that has been broadly tagged as "kosmigroov".
The label only existed in the 70s and the rights to the catalog has now passed over to Sony Music. Think Records in Japan has started a limited ediiton reissue campaign of the Three Blind Mice label. They arrive in mini-LP sleeves and are manufactured using Sony's proprietary Blu-Spec process. We are cherry picking titles we think should have your attention.
Terumasa Hino is the legendary Japanese trumpeter who has given us countless amazing sessions since the late 60s. His work in the 70s channeled the spirit of electric Miles Davis. This live album from 1973 isn’t plugged in but its searing with white hot energy. The album consists of three long tracks – the ubiquitous “Stella By Starlight” and two Hino compositions – “Sweet Lullaby” and the 28 minute marathon of “Be And Know”. The quintet is incredible – Hino has his brother Motohiko on drums, Yoshio Ikeda on bass, the amazing Mikio Masuda on piano, and Yuji Imamura (of Air fame) on percussion. Simply a sublime album.