Yoshihide Otomo's New Jazz Quintet



For some reason I really think it’s jazz, it’s new, and it’s not precisely a 5tet. For a long time I haven’t heard the sound, or rather a jazz sound – jazz taken as an entity, a starting point, an idea to live with. So simply a frame? Certainly not! It is easy on an electric guitar, as played by Otomo here, to lock the tone button at a full zero and feel playing like Herb Ellis or more like a muffin in a dark room. However, this will never end up being anything close to what jazz has been crying, stuttering, or just exploring. A way to move, one could say. It is probably also »new« here in the sense of »again, profound, urgent, now … right now«. One should listen to the whole record from the line drawn by Sachiko M, her tiny, strident electronic dots or pathways. The ear’s focus is precisely altered by her presence, her distance and closeness, as the almost non-progressive playing of the group allows the listeners to free themselves from any soloist expectations or duties. Looking back for a moment, jazz has never been such an instrument form as in the past decade. Just a little reminder: neither cello, tenor saxophone nor laptop invents music (although each generates sounds, failures or perspectives. To speak about music still requires that someone take or express something slightly further, and of course not the opposite…) Here the guitar »solos« (they aren’t actually!) are overdubbed with reason, while saxophones, guitar, bass, drums stand for The Quintet. I think if I were the producer of a series I would have asked more artists to express their own »new jazz group« (I can easily be excited by thinking of Fred Frith, Brian Ferry, Evan Parker or Alan Vega …) Yes, it is always difficult to speak of a music that speaks so much for itself. Listen to it or don’t, it is also new, because it has just come out!


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