Masayuki Takayanagi

Call in Question

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This is an astonishing recording of Japanese free jazz/improv guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi, who worked in the 1960s producing feedback and noise guitar work in a free jazz context. Well ahead of its time, the only comparison to this music would be that of British guitarist Ray Russell, or Sonny Sharrock's feedback peaks of Black Woman. Of course, in the '80s and '90s this kind of noise territory would be approached by Rudolph Grey and his Blue Humans as well as fellow Japanese guitarist Heino Keiji, to whom Takayanagi is somewhat of a godfather. To learn that Japan -- in 1971 -- was home to the kind of progressive free jazz and improvisation scene more commonly associated with European and New York music is most facinating. Derek Bailey springs to mind on many occasions, although the sonic assault here is much more hardcore than anything the English gent produces; additionally, this is far more out of control than either Sharrock's album or John McLaughlin's Extrapolation, if one is using those records as a measure of feedback jazz guitar mayhem. The New Direction Unit is exactly that, as this territory had not been explored to this degree prior, except for maybe Peter Brotzmann's Machine Gun and likewise Jimi Hendrix' track of the same title. "Voodoo Chile" had probably been an inspiration to the guitar on show here, although not half as much as Albert Ayler's tenor sax, and the blues base is certainly not here. This is total abstraction that came at a time when improvisational music was reaching its most challenging nexus, and Call in Question is a quintessential document of the outer regions of the free jazz genre. The exceptional recording quality and beautiful PSF packaging and design add to the flavor; the CD's deceptively formal appearance does not fit with the ecstatic anarchy held within.

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