The Squid's Ear Magazine

Kokotob (Taiko Saito / Niko Meinhold / Tobias Schirmer): Flying Heart (Clean Feed)

Japanese vibraphonist and marimba player Taiko Saito is a contemporary classical player well established in the field of improv, joined by long-time collaborator, pianist Niko Meinhold, and here expanded with Tobias Schirmer on clarinet and bass clarinet for an album that uses solid compositional foundations for lyrical and contemplative modern music.

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product information:

UPC: 5609063004311

Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF431
Squidco Product Code: 24452

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2017
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Studio H2, Berlin, Germany, Nov. 22nd and 23rd, by Marco Birkner


Taiko Saito-marimba, vibraphone

Niko Meinhold-piano

Tobias Schirmer-clarinet, bass clarinet

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"If in a recent past it was a rarity, nowadays more and more classical musicians find in improvisation - and inclusively in the jazz language - an extra medium of musical creativity. That's the case of the vibraphonist and marimba player Taiko Saito, complementing that dual frame with aspects coming from the Japanese tradition.

An interpreter of the music of contemporary composer Sofia Gubaidulina who also played with marimba virtuoso Keiko Abe, David Friedman and free improv with Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Saito co-founded a duo with the German avant-jazz pianist Niko Meinhold, responding with the album "Koko" (2006) to the emblematic "Crystal Silence" (1973), by the ground-breaking vibraphone-piano duet of Gary Burton and Chick Corea. They found in that ECM record a path to explore and the result was an enlargement of the previously oppened perspectives.

Other incursions combining the two instruments happened meanwhile, and it was time for Saito and Meinhold to search other possibilities: the duo Koko became the trio Kokotob, adding Tobias Schirmer and his soprano and bass clarinets to the interactions. The context continues to be the one of chamber jazz and the approach is still experimental, but now a breathing quality, of Schirmer's responsability, is added to the vibrational character of the already known delicate and meditative - but abruptly contrasted with cutting-edge situations - musical world inhabited by Saito and Meinhold.

A welcomed new episode of a work-in-progress that certainly will give us more surprises."-Clean Feed

Artist Biographies

"Taiko Saitō (Japanese 易 子 子, Saitō Taiko, 易 子 1976 1976 1976 1976 1976

Taiko began playing Marimba at the age of six; Later came the piano and drums. For eight years she received lessons from the Marimba virtuoso Keiko Abe. She studied at the Tōhō College of Music in Tokyo and then graduated as the first marimbaphone soloist with a diploma. In 1997 she began to deal with improvisation and composition. In 1998, she moved to Berlin to study with David Friedman at the University of the Arts. Rupert Stamm took her 2005 to his vibraphone quartet Xylon (with Tom van der Geld and Franz Bauer ). In 2006 she released her first album Koko together with the pianist Niko Meinhold at Pirouet Records. [1] In the trio Kokotob with Meinhold and the clarinetist Tobias Schirmer, which has existed since 2008, she performed at the Nuremberg Festival Vibraphonissimo in 2017. [2]

Saitō has played with orchestras such as the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra or the Orchester d'Auvergne. At the 5 th International Shostakovich Festival in Gohrisch in 2014, she participated in the premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina's work "So sei es" as a drummer, [3] which appeared with chamber music works by Viktor Suslin in the same year on the album In Memoriam at BIS. She also belonged to various bands, such as Lunatique Asylum around Oliver Potratz, with whom she performed internationally. She also teaches at the New Music School in Berlin.

Saito won first prize at the 3éme Concours International de Vibraphone, Claude Giot, the 3rd prize at the World Marimba Competition, the NTT-DoCoMo Award and the 1st Jazz Jazz Award 2002."

-Wikipedia (Translated by Google) ( )

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"Niko Meinhold studied at HfM "Hanns Eisler" Berlin, at Kungligan Musikhögskolan Stockholm. Masters at Jazzinstitut Berlin. Wrote compositions for solo instruments, ensembles, choir, orchestra. also for film, TV, and radio (like Rias Bigband and NDR Bigband) as well as for theatre and cd productions. Won Awards such as the Karl- Hofer- Award, the Berlin Senat Composers Grant, Award for best German University Ensemble for his trio Tritorn, Nordiska Kulturfondet Tourgrant for his Scandinavian group Northern Alliance for a Scandinavia tour accompanied by dancers. Toured and played on festivals in the USA, UK, Japan, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Colombia, Romania, South Korea, Senegal, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Israel, Ghana, Algeria, Poland, Serbia, and of course Germany. Frequent guest professor at the music faculty of Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá/ Colombia. Recently teaching at the University for Music and Theatre in Rostock."

-Niko Meinhold Website (

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"Tobias Schirmer (saxophone, clarinet)

Tobias Schirmer studied saxophone and clarinet at the University of Music "Hanns Eisler" in Berlin from 1997 to 2004, including Gerard Presencer, Gregoire Peters, Gebhard Ullmann and Jiggs Wigham. He has played with various ensembles from jazz and improvised music at home and abroad, including Jazzfestival Reykjavik 2005, Japantournee 2008, and has been involved in studios."

-Music Lessons in Kleinmachnow (Translated by Google) (

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Track Listing:

1. Waldboden 3:59

2. Wellen 7:18

3. Origami Im Gorlitzer Park 4:11

4. Komodo No Kodomo 6:46

5. Etude In Eb 6:15

6. Feldmannchen 5:29

7. 5 Viertel 5:09

8. Bikkuri 2:15

9. Korokoro 5:05

10. Snow Moon Flower 3:54

Related Categories of Interest:

Clean Feed

Improvised Music
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Trio Recordings
Chamber Jazz
Squidco's Clean Feed $12.00 Sale

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