Live at Jazz Spot Combo 1975

Featuring: Itaru Oki

Musicians on the recording

Itaru Oki - trumpet, flute
Yoshiaki Fujikawa - alto saxophone, flute
Keiki Midorikawa - bass
Hozumi Tanaka - drums

Recording track list

1. Combo Session 1   
2. Combo Session 2  
3. Combo Session 3
4. Combo Session 4
5. Combo Session 5    


NoBusiness Records NBCD 143
Release year - 2021

Credits and release info

  • Improvised and composed by Itaru Oki, Yoshiaki Fujikawa, Keiki Midorikawa and Hozumi Tanaka
  • Recorded live on the 7th December, 1975 at JAZZ SPOT COMBO, Fukuoka City, Japan by Heihachiro Arita  有田平八郎 (cassette tape)
  • Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
  • Design by Oskaras Anosovas
  • Cover photo by Tatsuo Minami
  • Booklet photos by Tatsuo Minami and Heihachiro Arita
  • Liner noto by Akira Saito
  • Produced by Danas Mikailionis and Takeo Suetomi (Chap Chap Records)
  • Release cordinator - Kenny Inaoka (Jazz Tokyo)
  • Co-producer - Valerij Anosov

Reviews and articles


Ken Waxman - The Whole Note

Although arriving from a dissimilar tradition, free-form experiments were common in 1960s Japan with several avant-garde ensembles throughout the country. One player who tried for more international renown was trumpeter Itaru Oki (1941-2020). He relocated to France in 1974 and was soon playing with locals. Occasionally he returned to gig in Japan, and Live at Jazz Spot Combo 1975 (NoBusiness NBCD 143 reproduces one of those visits. Playing with drummer Hozumi Tanaka who was part of his Japanese trio, bassist Keiki Midorikawa and, crucially, alto saxophonist/flutist Yoshiaki Fujikawa, Oki’s quartet roams through five themes and improvisations. The trumpeter’s truculent flutters set the pace with speedy arabesques in counterpoint to slithery flute flutters. While keeping the exposition horizontal, the trumpeter prolongs intensity with triplets and half-valve effects. Backed by sul tasto bass string rubs and percussion slaps, Fujikawa is even more assertive beginning with Combo Session 2, where initial saxophone concordance with trumpet puffs soon dissolves into strangled reed cries and irregular vibrations. Dragging an emotional response from Oki, both horns are soon exfoliating the narrative, seconded by cymbal shivers. But the four stay rooted enough in jazz to recap the head after cycling through theme variations. These opposing strategies are refined throughout the rest of this live set. But no matter how often the saxophonist expresses extended techniques such as doits and spetrofluctuation, linear expression prevents aural discomfort. In fact, the concluding Combo Session 5 could be termed a free jazz ballad. While Oki’s tonal delineation includes higher pitches and more note expansion than a standard exposition, at points he appears to be channelling You Don’t Know What Love Is. That is, until Midorikawa’s power pumps, Tanaka’s clapping ruffs and the saxophonist’s stentorian whistles and snarls turn brass output to plunger emphasis leading to a stimulating rhythmic interlude. With trumpet flutters descending and reed trills ascending a unison climax is reached.

Live at Jazz Spot Combo 1975 -

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