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Akira Sakata & Jim O'Rourke with Chikamorachi "And That's the Story of Jazz..." (2011) and live LP

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Akira Sakata is revered as the most powerful alto saxophonist to ever come out of Japan since starting with the Yosuke Yamashita trio in the 1970's. But for far too long Sakata's albums, as leader or side player, have been only available as expensive Japanese imports limiting Western ears from hearing him—until now.

Family Vineyard Records is excited too announce the October 2011 release of Sakata's first ever U.S.-only 2xCD set and LP as leader. Both albums feature Sakata's long-running rhythm section Chkiamorachi: drummer Chris Corsano and double bassist Darin Gray. This trio began working together with guitarist Jim O'Rourke six years ago during a small Asian tour and subsequent Japan-only albums.

And that's the story of jazz... is a sprawling 2xCD set documenting a 2008 Japan tour with O'Rourke and Chkiamorachi in blistering detail. Shades of Last Exit, Coltrane's Live in Seattle and even Kousokuya appear here but this quartet has nailed its own unique 'n' volatile tension and symmetry. Throughout Sakata charges upper registers on alto sax yet still hooks stunning phrases and harmonic themes. O'Rourke's radical, electric guitar blasts are massive volleys of pure sound. All the while, Gray relentlessly anchors the torrent with subterranean grooves, scrapes and slaps while Corsano lays waste to his kit, pounding polyrhythms and tones. Together passages transform from blinding, uncompromised brutality to where Sakata's sweetened melodies dance slowly alone and O'Rourke, also on harmonica,adds lonesome country blues.

Live at Hungry Brain captures Sakata, Corsano and Gray during their first U.S. performance at the 2009 Umbrella Music Festival in Chicago. This is an outrageous document by the brawling avant-garde trio. Sakata, on alto/clarinet/ vocals, pushes Corsano/Gray into deep grooves and rapid interplay.On each piece Sakata seemingly levitates higher while blasting out gorgeous melodic shapes—even when he sings.

Those who have followed Corsano and Gray's progression through the American rock, noise & free jazz underground will hear this LP as a pinnacle of their talent. It's an exhilarating, deeply textured and exhausting listen only matched by the outlandish, yet spot-on, cover art by famed Japan illustrator More Rock All Art. Edition of 700 copies. Contains download code.

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