Percy Faith recorded these two albums, Koga Melodies (1970) and Ryoichi Hattori Melodies (1972), expressly for the Japanese market, and neither has seen domestic release until now. The albums feature Faith's arrangements of music by two Japanese composers, Masao Koga and Ryoichi Hattori, both of whom integrated elements of Eastern and Western music into their pieces: Koga blended popular song styles while Hattori mixed jazz with traditional Japanese music. Although Faith was experienced in adapting and interpreting music from around the world, his complex and meticulous orchestral arrangements are firmly rooted in Western traditions, which makes these two albums very accessible to Western listeners who have no particular familiarity with or understanding of Eastern music. Koga's "Yawara (Softly)," for instance, is based on a strongly rhythmic two-chord guitar riff over which layers of strings play lazy, vaguely Eastern-sounding melody lines. The strong rhythmic orientation throughout is characteristic of the "Beautiful Music" radio format of the '70s, which superimposed light, flowing string melodies over snappy or gently pulsing rhythms. Faith's imaginative orchestrations and exotic source material combine to create something moody and subtle enough to serve as background music, but interesting enough to reward close listening. The Hattori album is very different from the Koga one, with jazzy melodies and more drama, perhaps as a result of Hattori's history of scoring films. Far from being an esoteric reissue for Percy Faith completists only, Koga Melodies/Ryoichi Hattori Melodies is an approachable and enjoyable collection for all light music enthusiasts.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Greg Adams