on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2021 11 Jul

A record for Rosato and Brian

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags:  | 16 Comments


These two music lovers from the unbeatable team of The Manafonistas come to mind first after some deep listening of Masabumi Kikuchi‘s final recording. (Playing solitaire is nice, but I like sharing my enthusiasm from time to time.) Guys, you should listen to „Hanamichi“ in the next blue hour available (this album might  suit your taste for the unknown in the well-known). „Poo“ (as he was called by friends) had his influences reaching from the spheres of classical music to the phenomenal horizons of Keith Jarrett‘ s solo flights, but, with a very distinct, personal touch, he had never been just strolling old venues. I think you know some of his ECM recordings. This album, produced by Sun Chung in December 2013, is the pianist‘s final recording and has only now seen the light of day, being the first release on Red Hook Records. And what a beautiful one that is. Freewheeling and lyrical in equal measures, the music draws me inside, and even an old tune like Gershwin‘s „Summertime“ makes me stop in the tracks. Every solo piano album comes along with a decent amount of cultural baggage – a joy to hear Masabumi Kikuchi handling the weight of tradition with a perfect balance of forgetting and remembering. The sound is perfect, too, intimate, warm, and crystal clear. In my next radio night I will probably play a sequence of five tracks in a row – Masabumi‘s performance of that old movie tune, „Ramona“ at the centre, surrounded by two songs from the latest „Mountain Goats“ album, and two solo bass pieces by Marc Johnson, from his forthcoming album „Overpass“. Excellence guaranteed!

This entry was posted on Sonntag, 11. Juli 2021 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Und damit haben es mich bislang schon drei SoloPianoAlben auf feinste Art gefesselt, in diesem Jahr: dieses, Nik Bärtschs Entendre, und die LP von Kari Ikonen. Alle drei Werke haben übrigens einen exzellent Sound, jedes aif seine Weise. Steve Tibbetts erzählte hier ja mal hier, wie schwierig es sei, ein Piano richtig gut aufzunehmen. Bei diesen Pianoscheiben ist das jedenfalls beeindruckend gelungen.

  2. Rosato:

    Kari Ikonen Trio

    Wind, Frost & Radiation

    heftige Empfehlung, höre gerade zum dritten mal in 2 Tagen Track One: Harmattan. Exzellente Sound Qualität

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Ah, die kenne ich nicht.

    Ich bezog mich auf IMPRESSIONS, auf Ozella.

  4. Brian Whistler:

    I will definitely look out for this one. Never heard of this artist.

  5. Rosato:


    das Kandinsky-Album, grandioso
    habe ich – sogar auf Vinyl

  6. Rosato:

    for the first hearing visit spotify
    look for both

  7. Michael Engelbrecht:

    In regards to the sound of Masabumi‘s album:

    „Throughout both sides of the album, the sound of the piano is extraordinary. Even though a digital or analog source is not identified, every nuance of the piano’s personality has been captured by the fine engineering of Rick Kwan, with an outstanding transfer to vinyl assured by the equally fine mastering of Alex Bonney. Although no pressing plant is identified, the dead-quiet surfaces of the weighty LP enable the listener to bask in the overwhelming sonorities created by Kikuchi’s lithe keyboard touch and pedal work. Finally, complementing the quality of the vinyl, the beautifully realized jacket, protective inner sleeve, informative notes and testimonials complete a very special presentation.“ (Guy Lemcoe)

  8. Olaf Westfeld:

    Das Ikonen Album mit dem Kandinsky Cover habe ich auch auf Vinyl – großartig!

  9. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Brian, apart from HANAMICHI, here is another Masabumi favourite of mine, an ECM album called SUNRISE, with Paul Motian and Thomas Morgan.

    „Kikuchi’s touch reveals no hesitation in his ideas. His harmonic statements are instinctive, canny, sometimes spare, sometimes subtly dissonant, but always compelling; they never force their way. Motian’s unshakeable and melodic sense of time is present at each moment, seemingly anticipating the many shifts, and Morgan’s bass playing shimmers rather than pulses. It asserts pointillist moments in shapes and shades in accordance with the pianist’s impeccable sense of direction and his centering presence. Singling out an individual tune is futile since all of this music is of a piece, full of subtlety and elegance, but nearly radical in its lyric invention and rhythmic flow. Sunrise is, like its title, a gradually unfolding, poetic stunner.“ (words by Thom Yurek, on SUNRISE)

    A „poetic stunner“, indeed!

  10. Uwe Meilchen:

    Reihe mich gerne in den Kreis der von diesem Album Begeisterten ein. Der Radiohörer hatte es vor geraumer Zeit bereits vorgestellt. / masabumi-kikuchi-hanamichi-the-final-studio-recording

  11. Jochen:

    Sunrise, one of my favorites ever (Thomas Morgan on bass!). Henning Bolte schrieb ja mal über seine Begegnung mit Kikuchi in New York hier auf Manafonistas. Habe gerade mit Freude entdeckt, dass der Pianist sehr viele Platten mit Paul Motian gemacht hat (auf dem Winter & Winter Label beispielsweise).

  12. Michael Engelbrecht:

    This, his final recording, is a great opportunity to let oneself sink into it, deeper and deeper, again and again and again – and, further on, to discover other great albums of Mr. Kikuchi, like Black Orpheus etc. But, for now, and the weeks to come, I stay with Hanamichi, the vinyl. As stream available on Qobuz, for example.

  13. Rosato:


    Tethered Moon
    ist der Name der Band mit Peacock & Motian

    3 Alben hab ich in der Sammlung
    – First Meeting (auf Streaming Portalen verfügbar)
    – Play Kurt Weill (vergriffen, bei discogs angeboten)
    – Triangle (vergriffen, bei discogs angeboten)

    Kikuchi ist einer der eigenwilligsten Jazzpianisten

  14. Brian Whistler:

    Its strange, but Tidal won’t let me stream the entire album Hanamichi- it skips the first tune and several others. I may have to pick this up in order to hear the whole thing. Ill try Spotify first however. Am definitely going to explore the other suggestions, especially Sunrise. Thanks for the suggestions.

  15. Rosato:

    the same under Qobuz (only tracks 3/5/6 completely available)

    Spotify offers all tunes without limitation / album

  16. Brian Whistler:

    Listening to Sunrise. Fantastic deep listening.

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