During the mid-'60s Tak Shindo traveled to his family's native Japan to record a series of LPs for the Nippon Victor label. For Sea of Spring, clearly the most appealing and imaginative album of the bunch, Shindo arranged a suite of traditional Japanese folk melodies for both eastern and western instrumentation, and in doing so effectively turned inside-out the formula of the classic exotica efforts like Brass and Bamboo, which applied the same interpretive approach to standards of the Great American Songbook. The picturesque cover photo, depicting Japan's Inland Sea, perfectly evokes the serene beauty of the music within, while Shindo's lush orchestral arrangements merge gracefully with the koto and the ondo, and the lilting melodies prove more than hardy enough to withstand their transformation into the American jazz idiom. A beautiful, thoughtful album, free of kitsch and irony.
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