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Masahiko, Togashi Quartet (w / Yoshizawa / Takagi /Takayanagi)

We Now Create: Music For Strings, Winds And Percussions

Masahiko, Togashi Quartet (w / Yoshizawa / Takagi /Takayanagi): We Now Create: Music For Strings, Wi (Monkey Dog)

An excellent debut from drummer/percussionist Masahiko Togashi's Quartet released in 1969, a remarkable free jazz album of strong technical and creative skills, with Motoharu Yoshizawa on bass and cello, Mototeru Takagi on sax and reeds, and Masayuki Takayanagi on guitar, an important advance for the players who would go on to form influential bands like New Directions.

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product information:

UPC: 6038152913514

Label: Monkey Dog
Catalog ID: MDBJ 002CD
Squidco Product Code: 25267

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: E.U.
Packaging: Jewel Case
Originally released in 1969 as an LP on Victor (SMJX-10065). Recorded May 23, 1969 at Tokyo Studio Center. Mixed by Yoshihisa Watanabe.


Motoharu Yoshizawa-bass, cello

Masahiko Togashi-drums, percussion

Masayuki Takayanagi-guitar

Mototeru Takagi-tenor saxophone, reeds

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Artist Biographies:

"Motoharu Yoshizawa (吉沢元治) (1931 - September 12, 1998) was an influential Japanese bassist known for playing in a distinctive free jazz and free improvisation style, sometimes deploying electronics and using the unusual self-designed five-string bass he referred to as the "Tiritack".

Yoshizawa collaborated with innumerable musicians over his long career; some of the better known include Masayuki Takayanagi, Masahiko Togashi, Takehisa Kosugi, Mototeru Takagi, Kaoru Abe, Steve Lacy, Dave Burrell, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Barre Phillips, Butch Morris, Elliott Sharp, Ikue Mori, Keiji Haino, Kan Mikami, Kazuki Tomokawa, Christopher Yohmei Blasdel & Tenko.

Yoshizawa began playing in a free style in the mid-1960s, in groups with Yosuke Yamashita and Kazunori Takeda, as well as in a famous jam session with Elvin Jones during John Coltrane's Japan tour of 1966. Yoshizawa's own trio with Mototeru Takagi was said to have been pivotal for Japanese free jazz, though no recordings survive. In 1969, Yoshizawa played with Masahiko Togashi's famous quartet and Masayuki Takayanagi's New Directions group, participating in both groups' landmark recording sessions of that year.Yoshizawa was a pioneer of solo bass performance, his experiments synchronous with those of Barre Phillips. He first played this style in 1969, though nothing was recorded until several years later. In the mid-1970s, Yoshizawa recorded three albums for solo bass. Later in the decade he had a fruitful collaboration with alto saxophonist Kaoru Abe, which led to the recording of one album, Nord.

In the 1990s, Yoshizawa began experimenting with an effects-laden, five-string bass of his own design. He spent six months living and playing in New York in 1989-90.

-Wikipedia (

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"Masahiko Togashi (March 22, 1940, Tokyo - August 22, 2007, Kanagawa) was a Japanese jazz percussionist and composer.

Togashi grew up in a musical household; his father was a double-bassist in a swing jazz ensemble, and Togashi learned violin and drums, playing the latter in his father's band. He worked with Sadao Watanabe, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Tony Scott in the 1950s, then founded the ensemble Jazz Academy in 1961 with Hideto Kanai, Masabumi Kikuchi, and Masayuki Takayanagi. He was an early free jazz leader in Japan, playing in this idiom with Yosuke Yamashita and performing with American musicians such as Ornette Coleman, Blue Mitchell, Lee Morgan, and Sonny Rollins on Japanese tours.

Togashi lost the use of his legs in an accident in 1969, and designed a new kit that would allow him to continue playing. Later associations included performing or recording with Paul Bley, Don Cherry, Jack DeJohnette, Charlie Haden, Steve Lacy, Gary Peacock, Masahiko Sato, and Yuji Takahashi."

-Wikipedia (

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"Masayuki 'Jojo' Takayanagi (高柳昌行) (December 22, 1932 - June 23, 1991) was a Japanese jazz / free improvisation / noise musician. He was active in the Japanese jazz scene from the late 1950s. In the 1960s he formed New Directions (later New Direction Unit), which recorded several albums throughout the 1970s. He also recorded several albums with saxophonist Kaoru Abe, including Kaitai Teki Kohkan, Gradually Projection and Mass Projection."

-Wikipedia (

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"Mototeru Takagi (高木元輝) (28 December 1941 - December 2002) was a Japanese tenor saxophone player, known for playing in a distinctive and powerful free jazz style. He played with many of the most important Japanese free groups and musicians during the seventies, such as ESSG and those of Masahiko Togashi, Motoharu Yoshizawa and Masayuki Takayanagi.

Takagi was born in Osaka in 1941, but grew up in Yokohama. During his younger years, he spent time in the bands of players like Charlie Ishiguro and Hisashi Sakurai, but only really began developing his distinctive free style when he joined the Motoharu Yoshizawa Trio in 1968. The following year he joined Togashi's Quartet and ESSG. After Togashi's accident, Takagi played briefly with Masayuki Takayangi's New Direction Unit and in a duo with percussionist Sabu Toyozumi. From November 1973 he spent one year playing in France, returning to Japan in November 1974.

Takagi recorded very few albums as a leader over the course of his career, but he was highly valued as a collaborator by many Japanese jazz, rock and avant-garde musicians."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. Variations On A Theme Of "Feed-Back" (11:55)

2. Invitation To "Corn Pipe" Dance (7:10)

3. Artistry In Percussions (9:21)

4. Fantasy For Strings (8:55)
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Given my knowledge of the classic Japanese jazz scene, I am basically flunking. I picked up We Now Create believing it to be a rarity - it happens to be considered one of the first free-jazz (avant, creative music, regardless...) in the country's musical index. Otherwise, Togashi seems a regular profilic composer, with this album being one of many, if still a notable one, or an all-over-the-place collaborator, with the Quartet as a particular state. Quartet itself isn't really a designative term, since on all three such albums - this one, Speed & Space, also from 1969, and 1977's Sketch - the only constant presence is Togashi himself.

Not sure if the album, based on its title, is supposed to be a work-in-progress, with no final character whatsoever, or driven by some kind of desire to give shape to things at some point while performing. Togashi tends to overwhelm his fellow musicians and make it even more percussion-centric than expected, but here he queues, or builds up, significantly. Variations On A Theme Of "Feed-Back" features a mixture of Abercrombie-like warm, reverberating, but isolated chords and pizzicato serialism at the guitar (I do recognize Masayuki Takayanagi, having listened to somewhat noisier 80s albums of his). The "Cornpipe" Dance (with Takagi's contribution) could very well be formally spot-on, folkloric-inspired, rubato and aimlessly improvised - but it sounds annoying. Fantasy For Strings, both airy and fragmented, alludes more to modern classical. Eight years later, Sketch will be just as traditionally conceived, even with Togashi forcing his bassist to remain in ostinato throughout his long improvisations, only to get himself stuck in his own monotonies later on.

These are pretty serious and evolved free jazz compositions, yet, with only Togashi's composed solo worth listening to after some unstable strident acts, I was hardly fascinated."-Ricochet, Jazz Music Archives

Get additional information at Jazz Music Archives
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Japanese & Asian Improv/Rock
Quartet Recordings
Jazz Reissues
New in Improvised Music
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