Live 2004

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In 2004, KBB played the Silver Elephant in Tokyo for two consecutive nights, in support of their then latest release, Four Corner's Sky. Bassist Dani recorded the sets, and the results are offered here, presenting for the first time on record the dynamic thrust of the band. Yes, things go differently on-stage for this quartet. Akihisa Tsuboy and friends get more expansive, energetic, and dangerous. Witness, for instance, the ballad "Shironiji," which gradually shakes off its melancholy garments to bounce back unexpectedly. Each piece gains one or two minutes in duration, thanks to extended solos, longer bridges, and inspired finales over finales. The 70-minute set consists of four pieces from Four Corner's Sky (including "Discontinuous Spiral," simply one of the best fusion tunes of the last few years); two tracks from the group's first album, Lost and Found (the symphonic "Nessa No Kioku" and the breathtaking "Hatenaki Shoudou"); and the 12-minute "Inner Flames," a previously unreleased composition. The obvious reference to Mahavishnu Orchestra could have backfired, but Tsuboy has the violin chops to pull off a number of this magnitude, and so does the rest of the band. Fusion fans who enjoyed Four Corner's Sky may find the redundancy factor on this release slightly too high, but newcomers who have heard of Tsuboy's virtuosity (he is one of Japan's most exciting violinists) will find Live 2004 a very good place to start.

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