Various Artists

Deluxe Improvisation Festival 2001: Day One

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This album presents excerpts from the performances held during the first day of the Deluxe Improvisation Festival 2001. Organized by Brett Larner on July 7 and 8, 2001, in Tokyo, the event gathered a number of improvisers from Japan and abroad. Yon Visell offers an interesting but not stellar laptop performance. More surprising is the first-time encounter between saxophonists Masahiko Okura and Seth Misterka. Better known for his hard-hitting free jazz combos, the American here shows a lot of restraint. The too-short cut by the Gene Coleman Quintet features Larner (koto), Aya Motohashi (hichiriki), Taku Sugimoto (guitar), and Ko Ishikawa on sho -- he is best known for his participation to Yoshihide Otomo's Cathode project. Incidentally, the guitarist gave a solo performance. The track included here is a complete improvisation on feedback guitar: minimal and arid in terms of contents, it nonetheless manages to soar. But the highlight of the set resides in the fantastic improv by the Takahashi Quartet led by percussionist Yuji Takahashi and featuring singer Kazuko Takada (also on shamisen), Larner, and bassist Tetsu Saitoh. Also a premiere, this group plays gripping free improv, cross-stylistic and cross-cultural. It all makes a nice CD recommended to fans of the Tokyo electro-acoustic improv scene. Deluxe Improvisation Festival 2001: Day Two, released simultaneously, documents the second half of the festival.