Masahiko Togashi

Bura-Bura

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An intriguing live concert recording, Bura-Bura is a quartet date led by drummer Masahiko Togashi, little known in the West, but featuring the all-star array of Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, and Dave Holland. Togashi made something of a name for himself in the '70s with experimental solo percussion albums like the fabulous Rings, but otherwise stuck largely to relatively straightforward jazz settings, albeit with a post-Ornette Coleman frame of reference. It's a pretty loose date, more of a jam session on the tunes (two each by Togashi and Lacy, one by Cherry) than the product of a working unit, yet still enjoyable. The leader's tonal palette appears to come out of Ed Blackwell, with a predilection for that resonant tom-tom sound, though his choice of rhythms is freer and has fewer references to African or New Orleans roots. Cherry's infectious song "Mopti" finds the composer singing at the piano and Holland digging deeply into the groove of the piece. Togashi's "Spiritual Nature," the 18-minute tune that closes out the disc, has a nice, relaxed sprawl to it, something that both Lacy and the composer take advantage of in their ruminative, probing solos. Bura-Bura might not reach the heights one may have hoped for given the lineup, but it's an enjoyable listen on its own and worth it for any fans of the players involved.

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