Japan Suite

Featuring: François Carrier

Musicians on the recording

François Carrier - alto saxophone
Masayo Koketsu
- alto saxophone
Daisuke Fuwa
- double bass
Takashi Itani
- drums and percussion

Recording track list

1. Uchi-soto(Inside Outside) 25:10
2. Kacho-fugetsu(Flower, bird, wind, moon) 14:27
3. Rakuyou(Falling Leaves) 15:35
4. Ogose(Town Ogose) 8:31
5. Yuzu(Citron) 11:15
6. Kaze To Kumo Ni Noboru(Climb the Wind and Clouds) 3:28



NoBusiness Records NBCD 125
Release year - 2020

Credits and release info

  • Recorded live at Yamaneko-ken, Ogose, Saitama, Japan, 7th December, 2019
  • Gig promoted by Tatsuo Minami for Yamaneko-ken
  • Recorded and mixed by François Carrier
  • Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios
  • Cover artwork - © 2014 Éric le Ménédeu
  • Booklet photos - Yoshie Tachiki
  • Album produced by Kenny Inaoka, François Carrier and Danas Mikailionis
  • Co-producer - Valerij Anosov

Reviews and articles


Maciej Lewenstein -

NoBusiness Records made several fantastic releases during the Covid19 era: "Japan Suite" it a perfect example. Recorded live at Yamaneko-ken, Ogose, Saitama, Japan, in December 2019, includes 6 kind free jazz songs in Japanese style. The fantastic idea of this album is actually to confront kind free jazz phrasing of François with the truly free jazz phrasing of Masayo Koketsu. That is actually the second amazing aspect of this album: the battle of two alto saxophones. The opening monumental "Uchi-soto - Inside Outside" is a great illustration of these aspects. All of this happen t with the help of the amazing rhythm section of Daisuke Fuwa and Takashi Itani: imaginative, creative and expressive. "Kacho-fugetsu - The Beauties of Nature" is notable for the incredible load of joy of joint making music. It is a more traditional track with a "walking bass" structure, but a completely crazy conversation of altos that develops into an orgiastic free jazz explosion. "Rakuyou - Falling Leaves" is the most beautiful track of the album - a slow ballad-like track with heart breaking howls of the two saxophonists. "Ogose", which is the name of a town, starts with a wonderful bass solo and develops into another tears-squeezing ballad with an eruptive and expressive final . "Yuzu - Citron" returns to the more powerful climates in terms of saxophone phrasing, keeping, however, a moderate tempo. "Kaze to kumo ni noboru - Climb the wind and clouds" end this outstanding, but unusual record of François: it is without any doubts his music, yet very different from what were used to. A multi-carat diamond!!!

Anastasios Babatzias - MIC

What is new in art is a chewing gum that in the 20th century has been chewed so much that it no longer just does not make sense but you get a little disgusted when you hear about it. In essence, what is new in art is a paradox because it exists and does not exist. Definitely not every new stalk that is marketed as original or as "the new sound" every 2 years. If we are really interested in looking for something like this, we should insist a lot because it is something extremely rare that is almost never realized in its time. But if we are talking about something truly great in art, whether it is "new", original, unprecedented or not, we must realize that this also rarely appears in history and very often it is ... the oldest! Art is a state that does not evolve linearly over time but is rather perpetually repeated and fashions affect its respective variations, which also (fashions) are usually repeated in a cunning way to reappear when the next generation takes the reins and he does not know them. But the core of art is one, an idea that always looks new, whenever it appears.

There are artists who realize this and move away from the fashions and "commands" of the time, from the surface of artistic friction and life. They are interested in learning the mechanism in depth. To be able to activate it. What they make is not a pure shell, it contains all the systems, the instruments that are necessary for the machine to work. Whether a new component will be added each time is not a question, it is a given but almost always its contribution will be imperceptible, so not immediately and easily obvious.

The gentlemen here, a Canadian and three Japanese are such artists and they play jazz today but not necessarily new. And this, as we now understand from the above, is good. Why don't they mix the achievements of free jazz by copying a style (as the majority does outside of jazz), but they have digested these acquisitions very well. The essence of this music has become their second skin and they can do whatever they want. Observe carefully the development of the (large) pieces. They build. They build the sound from the sound with freedom but also calmness and attention. And yet with an indescribable grace and dynamics which can not appear with any preparation, no sequence of predetermined commands. The magic must be achieved. Coordination to occur at the point, at the moment, at the edge. They sound throughout the album as if they were making an imaginary abstract journey. Abstract because there are no atmospheres, no landscapes (sound or other) or other cheap additions of naturalistic and "normal" grooming. The journey concerns the path of sound that penetrates and transcends seasons, styles, norms. It magically tells (magic is art) the story of rhythm. Of life. With its contradictions, calm, turmoil, spreading, dynamics, pause for breath, sweetness, violence, purification. It magically tells (magic is art) the story of rhythm. Of life. With its contradictions, calm, turmoil, spreading, dynamics, pause for breath, sweetness, violence, purification. It magically tells (magic is art) the story of rhythm. Of life. With its contradictions, calm, turmoil, spreading, dynamics, pause for breath, sweetness, violence, purification. So do not look for originality on this album. All of the above have always existed, exist and will continue to exist in life. And they will always look new.

Steven Loewy - New York City Jazz Record

For years, alto saxophonist François Carrier, who turns 60 this month, has impressed with searing tone, fluid technique and ability to play with a wide range of performers. Mostly immersed in free improvisation, Carrier straddles the difficult line between in and out blowing, with largely inspiring results. Japan Suite, recorded in 2019, finds him with three highly acclaimed Japanese improvisers in a live outing. What makes this album a bit unusual is that the piano-less quartet features very different sounding alto saxophonists, Carrier is joined by Masayo Koketsu, who has a much rougher, guttural sound, showing influences as diverse as Frank Lowe and at times Arthur Doyle. It helps, too, to have such good backing from bassist Daisuke Fuwa and Takasha Itani. All six pieces reflect Carrier’s striking lyrical tone, which contrasts well with his disjointed though fluid technique. The parallels with Ornette Coleman are apparent, though Carrier’s concept emphasizes his virtuosity and expansive style. He can run up and down his horn with abandon, pummeling with aggressive, fast, but often beautiful lines. On the lengthy opener (at more than 25 minutes), “Uchi-soto (Inside outside)”, solid bass sets a solid foundation for Carrier’s lines, full of unmitigated inventiveness while “Kachu-fugetsu (flower, bird, wind, moon)” has a dazzling display of wild saxophones rising above bass and percussion. “Rakuyou (Falling leaves)” focuses on Carrier’s gorgeous sound, but Koketsu roughs it up with gruff barks and when the saxophones roll in the mud without any support, they acquit themselves magnificently. “Ogose (Town Ogose)” turns down the temperature, opening with a quiet bass solo and very soft drums, Carrier gently building volume and intensity to the end, with a surprisingly soft landing. “Yuzo (Citron”) presents the saxophones in a passionate romp and closer “Kaze To Kumo Ni Noburo (Climb the wind and clouds)” ends abruptly (and humorously) after a few minutes. 


Japan Suite -

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