Motoharu Yoshizawa

Empty Hats

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The late Japanese free improvisation master recorded this solo album in 1994 on the five-string electric standup bass of his own design. This instrument is better heard in full-flight on UZU -- his collaboration with Barre Phillips -- as here the sound is somewhat faint, and the ideas considerably more abstract. Nonetheless, he covers some avant-garde territory in small and eloquent events where his bass playing is accented by effects and electronic processing. But to hear the master free-improvisation bassist at a peak, one would be better checking out Cracked Mirrors, his solo acoustic recording from 1975. This is an intriguing addition to his catalog, though the evidence of his genius is elsewhere.