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Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman: Sol Abstraction (Sol Disk Records)

The longstanding relationship between US alto saxophonist living in the Phillipines, Rick Countryman, and legendary free improvising Japanese percussionist Sabu Toyozumi, heard in two previous albums, is here captured live in concert in the Phillipines in 2018, revealing active and thoughtful dialog of great expression and skill, an inspired encounter of free playing.

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product information:

UPC: 88295867337

Label: Sol Disk Records
Catalog ID: SD1901
Squidco Product Code: 27177

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded live in The Philippines, on December 13th, 2018, by Alvin Cornista.


Sabu Toyozumi-drums, Erhu

Rick Countryman-alto saxophone

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Artist Biographies:

"Yoshisaburo "Sabu" Toyozumi (born Tsurumi, Yokohama, 1943) is one of the small group of musical pioneers who comprised the first generation playing free improvisation music in Japan. As an improvising drummer he played and recorded with many of the key figures in Japanese free music including the two principal figures in the first generation, Masayuki Takayanagi and Kaoru Abe from the late 1960s onwards. He is one of a very few of this circle who are still alive and engaged in playing this music today.

Toyozumi features on numerous commercially available recordings with many of the most notable Japanese and international improvising musicians including Derek Bailey, Mototeru Takagi, Misha Mengelberg, Peter Brötzmann, Keiji Haino, Otomo Yoshihide, Tom Cora and Fred Van Hove.

In 1971 he became the only non-American member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians(AACM)). He dedicated his first record as a leader, Sabu - Message to Chicago, to compositions by AACM members, and in 1992 toured and recorded with AACM trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith.

Toyozumi has been instrumental in bringing many European and American improvisers to Japan including Derek Bailey, Misha Mengelberg and Sunny Murray.

In 2005 British improvising guitarist and promoter John Russell arranged a two-day event dedicated to Toyozumi in which the drummer performed in different groupings with 14 musicians from the London improvised music scene including, most notably, Evan Parker, Lol Coxhill, Phil Minton, John Edwards and Steve Beresford. The Wire described his playing at this time as follows: "He's busy, but there's always space between his notes, and he avoids the flashy technical solution to musical problems. His playing is crisp and dramatic, with a very occasional use of repetition to spark a climax. If it's possible for a drum kit to ask awkward questions, Toyozumi seems to be doing it".

In an interview with Cadence Magazine in 1988 Toyozumi makes clear the importance of his relationship with nature as an influence on his playing and Clive Bell writing in The Wire in 2005 notes "his devotion to the way of Watazumido, the late shakuhachi player and Zen master, whose performances mixed martial arts and music in a bizarre cocktail of discipline and craziness".

In 2009 he returned to London to feature as one of the players in Russell's improvisation festival Fete Quaqua which was recorded for broadcast by BBC Radio 3. He continues to tour widely and in the past year or so has performed in Belgium and France, Chile, Taiwan, England, Philippines and Greece. He also performs from time to time with the legendary Japanese noise group Hijokaidan. Currently he can be found performing on the erhu - a two-stringed Chinese violin - as often as playing the drums."

-Wikipedia (

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"Rick Countryman (January 31, 1957) is an American jazz saxophonist and flautist.

After years attracting little attention as a baritone saxophone player, including an extended sabbatical, Rick made a late-life change to alto sax, at the urging of bassist, Simon Tan. His first recorded session with Simon and Christian Bucher, avant garde drummer from Switzerland, attracted the attention of French label "Improvising Beings" and was released as "Acceptance - Resistance". The recordings received many positive reviews, both in the United States and Europe.

Rick currently now has 9 releases on 4 labels across Europe, Asia, and the United States, including multiple CDs with Japanese improvisational drummer, Sabu Toyozumi, who has made several trips to Manila to perform and record. The music continues to receive positive reviews and airplay. Two recordings were listed in "Gold Dolphy 2018".

Since 2011, Rick has been an active member of the Manila jazz scene. He leads and performs in ensembles on baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, alto flute and bass flute; performing original compositions, as well as free jazz/improvisation, in his own jazz quartets and trios. His style is heavily influenced by Eric Dolphy, Sonny Simmons and the 60s Free Jazz movement. He was a student of Bert Wilson, and considers Michael Bisio and Rick Mandyck early mentors."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. Sol Abstraction 5:32

2. Improvisation With Barking Dog - Part I 3:10

3. Improvisation With Barking Dog - Part II 3:46

4. Broken Art - Part I 3:45

5. Broken Art - Part II 5:05

6. Ballad Of Mototeru Takagi - Part I 3:24

7. Ballad Of Mototeru Takagi - Part II 3:23

8. Ballad Of Mototeru Takagi - Part III 4:45

9. Integrity Of Creation 12:01
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"After a day and night filled with obstacles and surprises, none was less than a local dog joining Sabu's erhu during the performance. Embracing the moment, the barking dog's spontaneity was incorporated in the music, captured in tracks 2 and 3: "Improvisation with Barking Dog." The CD starts with "Sol Abstraction", a tribute to the masterful duets of John Coltrane and Rashied Ali. "Broken Art" is a tribute to the masters Charlie Parker and Eric Dolphy, and "Ballad of Mototeru Takagi" is for the Japanese free improvisational master whom Sabu performed and recorded with for decades. The closing selection on this CD is "Integrity of Creation", an extended piece from late in the final set, where the challenges of duo format fuel the creative fires."-Sol Disk Records

"From the beginning, a sax alto sound heated to white. One thinks of Roscoe, Sonny Simmons, Kaoru Abe, Byard Lancaster), free and expressionist. After this opening with fanfare (Sol Abstraction 5:33), two short improvisations where Sabu Toyozumi operates his er-hu (Chinese violin with two strings rubbed) in tribute to the dog barking nearby. There follows a series of heated dialogues - carried by the drums in free rhythms - expressive pulsations, crossed rhythms - acceleration of overlapping figures, multiply on the skins first and accessories and cymbals then, driving and pushing the saxophonist in his entrenchments. Or, oh, surprise, a few scattered, meticulously measured sounds leave all the space for Rick Countryman pushing a melody that stretches indefinitely. The magic of silence permeates around and behind the inspiration and the urgent sound of the white-hot beak. We leave the codified territory of free jazz to the no man's land of assumed freedom. Sabu Toyozumi invokes the practice of the rhythms of the original Africa (cfr field recordings of the label OCORA), makes speak his instrument like a sorcerer by the vibration of the strikes on the skins and the thrills of the cymbals - talkin'drums. A sequel is dedicated to the disappeared saxophonist Kaoru Abe, whose dead body Sabu had brought back to his mother almost four decades ago. Having spent years in the Philippines, saxophonist Rick Countryman has built a deep relationship with the veteran Japanese drummer through improvised concerts followed by an enthusiastic audience and since his first album appeared at improvising beings and their two trios at Chap Chap Records (The Center of Contradiction and Preludes and Prepositions), an expressive adventure is emerging, expressionist as well as spontaneous and thoughtful."-Orynx Improv Sound, translated by Google

Get additional information at Orynx Improv Sound
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Asian Improvisation & Jazz
Saxophone & Drummer / Percussionist Duos
Duo Recordings

Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:
Toyozumi, Sabu / Mats Gustafsson
Hokusai [VINYL]
Toyozumi, Sabu / Mats Gustafsson
Other Recommended Releases:
Toyozumi / Countryman / Tan
Chasing the Sun
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan / Isla Antinero / Stella Ignacio
The Search for the Five Senses
(Sol Disk Records)
Toyozumi / Yandsen / Countryman
Future of Change
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Simon Tan / Yong Yandsen / Rick Countryman
Bucher / Tan / Countryman
Blue Spontaneity
Toyozumi, Sabu / Simon Tan / Rick Countryman / Yong Yandsen
Voices Of The Spirit
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Turtle Bird
Bucher / Tan / Countryman
Satoh, Masahiko / Sabu Toyozumi
The Aiki [VINYL]
Toyozumi / Countryman / Montes
Blue Incarnation (Improvisations for Kulintang)
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan
Preludes And Prepositions
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Bucher / Countryman (w/ Simon Tan / Isla Antinero)
Extremely Live in Manila
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Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan
The Center of Contradiction
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Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan / Stella Ignacio / Isla Antinero
(Self Released)
Bucher / Countryman
(Self Released)
Bucher / Tan / Countryman
(Self Released)
Various Artists: Lao Dan / Rick Countryman / Colin Webster
Saxophone Anatomy
(Armageddon Nova)

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