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Contrabassist Hideo Ikegami organized this trio with frequent collaborator, guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama, and Sho master Ko Ishikawa, performing at the Tokyo cafe Kissa Sakaiki, presenting two sets of extended free improvisation with a unique sense of space and sound.

Ishikawa, Ko / Tetuzi Akiyama / Hideo Ikegami
Live at Kissa Sakaiki

Ishikawa, Ko / Tetuzi Akiyama / Hideo Ikegami: Live at Kissa Sakaiki (Confront)

Label: Confront    
Released in: Great Britain    

"Kissa Sakaiki is a cafe in Tokyo which supports the activities of musicians, dancers or other artists. I have played there many times, presenting a number of performances with musicians and dancers frequently. I have been collaborating with Tetuzi Akiyama as a duo for some time and one day had the idea to further our development by introducing another musician to form a new trio. Ko Ishikawa, a sho player was the first candidate in my mind. Fortunately, Ko agreed to play with us and I arranged a concert at Kissa Sakaiki. Tetuzi and Ko have played together several times previously but that was the first time to play together for Ko and myself. As I had hoped, the gig was successful and fortunately I recorded it. This release on Confront presents the complete document of all the music we played together that evening."-Hideo Ikegami

"This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Confront Recordings. The label, created in 1996 by English cellist Mark Wastell, continues to be an important venue for both historical and emerging figures in free improvisation, giving space to musicians coming from different geographical areas and music styles.

This recent release presents two sets of a live performance organized at Kissa Sakaiki in Tokyo by Hideo Ikegami, a bassist and improviser who wanted to further explore the possibilities of his duo with Tetuzi Akiyama, one of the most important experimental guitarists to emerge from the Japanese scene of the late ‘90s. For the occasion he invited Ko Ishikawa, a sho (bamboo mouth organ) player with a deep knowledge of Gagaku music and usual collaborator of Akiyama, to join the group.

Both sets have a strong narrative quality, evolving in wide structural arcs into a cohesive frame, using rich dynamics and sudden silences to build a solid performance that highlights the affinities the musicians share towards a common improvisational language, in spite of the different backgrounds they come from. The sho is the real surprise here: it has a breathing quality that reminds of the accordion, but it almost assumes the character of an electronic instrument, with a piercing tone that Ishikawa modulates in sweeping waves of sound that shape the harmonic contours of the performance. Akiyama plays exclusively on acoustic guitar, often opting for single accents and short staccato excursions or exploring the instrument’s hidden possibilities with his mastery of extended techniques, while Ikegami is in constant dialogue with both his partners, with a huge sound and excellent arco work, sometimes referencing jazz and classical traditions.

There’s a fruitful tension running through the album, with the slowly shifting dynamics of the sho and the dense activity of guitar and bass sometimes moving in parallel lines of large structural developments and tight abstract counterpoints. The musical discourse never loses its focus though, thanks to the listening ability and attentive interplay of the musicians, that manage to keep the performance constantly engaging until the very end."-Nicola Negri, Free Jazz Blog

"Ko Ishikawa is a Sho (Japanese bamboo mouth organ) player and is a member of the Gagaku ensemble "Reigakusha". He was born in Tokyo in 1963 and studied Sho and Gagaku music with masters Mayumi Miyata, Hideaki Bunno and Shiba Sukeyasu." (

"Tetuzi Akiyama (Akiyama Tetsuji) (born 13 April 1964) is a Japanese guitarist, violinist, and instrument-maker. Akiyama formed the improvisation group Madhar in 1987, and the classical ensemble Hikyo String Quintet in 1994 (which also included Taku Sugimoto on cello). In 1995, Akiyama and Sugimoto formed a guitar duo, and played at venues in New York City, Chicago, and Detroit. During this time, Akiyama was also a member of Keiji Haino's Nijiumu outfit. Akiyama also formed Sutekina Tea Time (a duo with Takashi Matsuoka) and Mongoose (a trio with Taku Sugimoto and Utah Kawasaki).

In 1998 Akiyama began organising a monthly concert series, The Improvisation Meeting, with Toshimaru Nakamura. In December 2006 he began a regular duo with Hervé Boghossian (France), they toured in Europe (France, Portugal, Switzerland, England) several times in 2007 (in May, October & December) & also played in Tokyo during Hervé Boghossian Japanese tour in August/September 2008. In 2009 he worked with David Sylvian."

-Wikipedia (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Trio Recordings
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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Price: $13.95
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Shipping Weight: 4.00 units

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Product Information:

Label: Confront
Catalog ID: ccs 39
Squidco Product Code: 20607

Format: CDR
Condition: New
Released: 2015
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: CD in a tin case
Recorded at Kissa Sakaiki, in Tokyo, Japan, on July 31st, 2014, by Hideo Ikegami.


Ko Ishikawa-sho

Tetuzi Akiyama-acoustic guitar

Hideo Ikegami-contrabass

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Track Listing:

1. First Set 30:57

2. Second Set 27:40