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Throwback Thursday: Koichi Matsukaze Trio

This is amazing. I just went down this rabbit hole of a sub genre journey into jazz music coming out of Japan in the 1960s and 70s. It’s called “J-Jazz.” In the years following the second world war, Japan became a breeding ground for a new class of diverse and dynamic jazz musicians. If that piques your interest, you should check out the Koichi Matsukaze Trio.

The Koichi Matsukaze Trio album, Earth Mother was one of the most sought after (and elusive) albums of the time. Released at the height of the Japanese jazz era in 1978, it represented some of the most innovative and improvisational music coming out of Japan at the time.

A British record label called “Barely Breaking Even” (aka BBE) recently released a compilation of Japanese jazz. It’s called “J Jazz – Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969 – 1984” and it includes the Koichi Matsukaze Trio as well as other important artists of the scene. It uncovers some of the most sought after and rare material from the period and it pulls together key artists who shaped the post-war modern jazz scene in Japan.

From BBE: “Japanese jazz culture progressed at an astonishing rate, producing an extraordinary array of artists, recordings and record labels that created some of the most forward thinking and impressive jazz to be committed to tape. This amazing journey is explored on ‘J Jazz’.”

Check out a couple of my favorite tracks from the album below, or purchase the vinyl at BBE.

Koichi Matsukaze Trio + Toshiyuki Daitoku – Images In Alone

Koichi Matsukaze Trio – Earth Mother

Tracklist:
Side A
Koichi Matsukaze Trio – Earth Mother
Takeo Moriyama Quartet with Shigeharu Mukai – North Wind*

Side B
Tohru Aizawa Quartet – Dead Letter
Eiji Nakayama – Aya’s Samba

Side C
Takao Uematsu – White Fire
George Otsuka Quintet – Sea Breeze*

Side D
Shintaro Quintet – A Blind Man
Mitsuaki Katayama – Unknown Point

Side E
Fumio Karashima – Little Island
Kiyoshi Sugimoto – Long Neal

Side F
Takeo Moriyama – Kaze
Terumasa Hino Meets Reggie Workman – Ode to Workman*