Yoshiko Sai – Taiji No Yume (1977)

Born on June 22, 1953, at Nara prefecture, Yoshiko Sai since his childhood demonstrated its precocity and many artistic gifts. During her elementary school days, she loved to paint and read all the classics from mythical writer Edogawa Rampo (The Japanese Poe).

In junior high school, she was a member of the coral, taking his first lessons in music; by high school, she played in a folk-rock group but the music wasn’t in its main plans so far.

Portrait
Portrait

In 1972 she tried to enter the Kyoto City University of Arts but wasn’t accepted, then she tried the Kyoto Doshisha University where she passed the entrance examination. In May of that year, she was caught by kidney disease, having to spend a year in observation.

Over this period she would recall:

‘I read a LOT of books from famous novelists, such as Mushitaro Oguri, Yumeno Kyusaku, Juran Hisao, and Yokomizo Masashi. These dark novels made me accept and relax about the disease, my forthcoming production of lyrics and music was strongly tied with this fact.’

After leaving the hospital, she incessantly started to wrote poetry and in 1974 debuted and won a contest at a local radio program. She then received an invitation to play an opening act for Rabi Nakayama concert. Two record companies became interested in her music and after the show, she was contracted by Teichiku Records.

1978 Promo
1978 Promo

Yoshiko Sai recorded four albums in four years, between May 1975 and December 1978, the 2nd (Mikkō) and 3rd (Taiji No Yume) of her releases may be considered more Progressive than Folk. Unfortunately, she abruptly retired from a career at the age of 25 in 1979.

A story told is that Yoshiko may have doubted her talent in music and lost her self-confidence. In recent years, a revival of interest in his music made her come back to record a new album with Jojo Hiroshige, called Crimson Voyage in 2001. Lastly, there’s been some re-releases from its 70s records, unedited live performances and poetry books.

Let’s go to our album:

In 1977 she moved to the Nippon Columbia company, and on September 25, she announced Taiji No Yume (Fetus Dream). Heavily inspired by the pre-war oddball and ghostly neurosurgeon doctor and writer Yumeno Kyusaku, hence the strange atmosphere this disc abides in. Quite dark in the overall texture, at the time of this she was merely 24 years old. Totally unknown for non-japanese listeners, this album is really a must for people into some more advanced Japanese historical recordings.

Melancholic Breeze
Melancholic Breeze

With utterly beautiful arrangements by the legendary Yuji Ohno, this is certainly my favorite album from her. A kaleidoscope of genres that spring from the depths of the inner mind: folk, jazz, bossa nova, flamenco, prog, rock and so. Yoshiko Sai plays the role of each and invites us to another dimension of reality, the “IM’ highlights are for:

Aoi Glass-Dama, with nice synths and strings, this rock ballad has an interesting crescendo, delivering an amazing emotional interpretation. And Taiji No Yume, a 9-minute epic, simply one of the best Japanese songs of all time, without exaggeration, I’ll let the words and adjectives to you, do not miss Yoshiko Sai’s haunting realms. 良い旅!

Tracks Include:

A1 ヒターノ (Gitano)

A2 アルハンブラの青い壜 (Alhambra No Aoi Bin)

A3 ある晴れた夜 (Aru Hareta Yoru)

A4 波止場 (Hatoba)

A5 春の夢 (Haru No Yume)

A6 海の沈黙 (Umi No Chinmoku)

B1 青いガラス玉 (Aoi Garasudama)

B2 遍路 (Henro)

B3 白昼夢 (Hakuchūmu)

B4 胎児の夢 (Taiji No Yume)

All songs and lyrics by Yoshiko Sai

Blow Up LX-7021A /// 25/09/1977

Musicians

Drums: Yasushi Ichihara

Electric & Acoustic Guitar: Tsunehide Matsuki

Gut Guitar: Kiyoshi Sugimoto

Electric Bass: Kenji Takamizu (1,2,4,5,9,10) /// Akira Okazawa (3,6,7,8)

Acoustic Piano: Masahiko Sato

Electric Piano, Solina, Spinet & Synthesizer: Yuji Ohno

Percussion: Lary Sunaga

Arranged (strings, brass, instrumental) by Yuji Ohno

Credits

Directed by: Shun Ohki

Produced by: Akira Sakajima

Engineer: Tomiji Iyobe

Art Director: Kazuhiro Saito

Cover Illustration: Yoshiko Sai

Illustration: Tsuyoshi Takigaito

Photography by: Jin Komine

Layout: Takashi Eakabayashi

Taiji No Yume Illustration
Taiji No Yume Illustration

Alice Coltrane W/ Strings – World Galaxy (1972)

capa cópiaToday’s record has a distinct imprint, something really powerful, different from everything that already appeared here. With a very suggestive name, i invite you all to enter in a spiritual journey led by the surpassing Alice Coltrane, namaste!

Let’s go to our history:

Born and raised in the religious family of Solon and Anne McLeod in Detroit, Michigan, Alice McLeod (August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007) became interested in music and began her study of the piano at the age of 7. She consistently and diligently practiced and studied classical music. Subsequently, she enrolled in a more advanced study of the music of Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky.

Alice: ‘Classical music for me, was an extensive, technical study for many years. At that time, I discovered it to be a piece of truly profound music with a highly intellectual ambiance. The classical artist must respectfully recreate the composer’s meaning. Although, with jazz music, you are allowed to develop your own creativity, improvisation, and expression. This greatly inspires me.’ (!)

Heavenly Strings
Heavenly Strings

With a scholarship to the Detroit Institute of Technology, her musical achievements began to echo throughout the city, to the extent that she played in many music halls and churches, for various occasions as weddings, funerals, and religious programs. Her skills and abilities were highly enhanced when she began playing piano and organ for the (gospel) junior and senior choirs at her church.

But her brother, bassist Ernie Farrow, introduced her to jazz early on, and as a teen, she became quite taken with bop and its offshoots. In Detroit, she played piano on sessions with masters like guitarist Kenny Burrell and saxophonist Lucky Thompson. By the early 60’s she was sharing the bandstand with vibes player Terry Gibbs, it was on tour with Gibbs that she met saxophonist John Coltrane.

John & Alice
John & Alice

Their 1965 wedding was the start of a musical union as well. When she replaced pianist McCoy Tyner in the classic Coltrane Quartet there was hubbub in the jazz world. But John Coltrane’s music was unfolding further with every passing month, he had begun probing musical motifs and deep inspiration from the East.

When her husband died in 1967, Alice continued working with members of his last group, including Garrison, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, and drummer Rashied Ali. She began playing the harp, utilizing sitar and tablas in the ensemble, and turning fully to Eastern cultures for inspiration. Spiritual and colorful, her music morphed into the soundtrack for prayer and meditative techniques. (!)

70's Alice
70’s Alice

Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba, and over the 70’s she established herself into the Vedantic Center, in California, changing his name to Turiya and evolving as a spiritual Hindu guru. Even releasing some albums through the 80’s and 90’s, she decided to diminished their public appearances, and following a 25-year break from major public performances, returning to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006, with a concert for the San Francisco Jazz Festival with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.

Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital in LA, aged 69. (RIP)

Alice & Swami Satchidananda
Alice & Swami Satchidananda

Let’s go to our record:

This big lush symphonic beauty must be heard over and over, with no distinction of tracks or highlights, Alice’s music creates his own wash of color and dynamic for the strings to fall like water from the sky into her mix, it shifts and change constantly as the rhythm section responds, in the prism of Coltrane’s textured harpistry.

This set may take some getting used to for some, but it’s easily one of the strongest records Alice Coltrane ever released, and one of the finest moments in 70’s jazz!

Prepare yourself and be ready for the voyage, चांगल्या ट्रिप!

Tracks Include:

A1 My Favorite Things (Rogers – Hammerstein)

A2 Galaxy Around Olodumare

A3 Galaxy In Turiya

B1 Galaxy In Satchidananda

B2 A Love Supreme (Coltrane)

All Galaxys composed by Alice Coltrane

Personnel

  • Alice Coltrane: percussion, piano, organ, harp, tamboura
  • Reggie Workman: bass
  • Ben Riley: drums
  • Elayne Jones: timpani
  • Frank Lowe: saxophone, percussion
  • Swami Satchidananda: voice
  • Leroy Jenkins: solo violin

The String Orchestra

  • David Sackson: concertmaster (all other members, strings)
  • Alan Shulman
  • Arthur Aaron
  • Avron Coleman
  • Edward Green
  • Harry Glickman
  • Henry Aaron
  • Irving Spice
  • Janet Hill
  • Joan Kalisch
  • Julien Barber
  • Ronald Lipscomb
  • Seymour Miroff
  • Thomas Nickerson
  • William Stone

Credits

  • Arranged, Orchestrated, Producer – Alice Coltrane
  • Cover, Design – Peter Max
  • Engineer (Assistant) – Dan Tuberville, Dennis Ferrante
  • Mixed By – Baker Bigsby
  • Mixed At – The Village Recorder (LA)
  • Narrator – Swami Satchidananda (tracks: B1, B2)
  • Photography By – Philip Melnick
  • Producer – Ed Michel
  • Recorded By – Tom Flye
  • Recorded At – Record Plant, NYC

Recorded November 15 and 16, 1971, at The Record Plant (NYC)

Impulse AS-9218

Alice's Lastly Portrait
Alice’s Lastly Portrait

Kostas Tournas (Κώστας Τουρνάς) – Aperanta Horafia (Απέραντα Χωράφια) [1972]

capa cópia

Kostas Tournas (Κώστας Τουρνάς) born on September 23, 1949, Tripoli, Greece. Aside Mariza Koch and Dionysis Savvopoulos, he’s certainly one of the greatest solo artists from its country, with dozens of albums, international recognition, passing through rock, pop, glam, disco, and many other influences; we’ll stick to its foremost concept gem by now. Still active, he’s also a member of the center-right political party New Democracy (sic). A dedicated post for Poll and his other solo classic Astroneira will appear throughout our galaxy, don’t miss it!

Let’s go to his history:

As a child Kostas enjoyed singing popular Greek melodies of the era, due to financial difficulties, his family eventually moved to Kypseli, Athens, in 1959. He managed to finish high school and in its spare time, he used to study the guitar which he received as a present from his mother. At age 13 he joined his first band. Largely self-educated he took up guitar lessons in 1965, pursuing a more serious musical career, shortly after, he was with a garage band called The Teenagers.

Poll Days
Poll Days

In Athens, Kostas worked at various music clubs, playing melodramatic Italian and French songs which he didn’t enjoy very much. He was a Beatles fan to the point of having watched A Hard Day’s Night seven times in a single day. (!)

He started to write original Greek material at the end of the ’60s in collaboration with his childhood friend Robert Williams. After returning from the army (69/70), Kostas founded Poll, one of the first rock groups of Greece, along with Robert Williams and Stavros Logarides. They started appearing at the popular Athens music club Kyttaro presenting folk-rock songs influenced by the hippie culture.

A second album featured the anti-war song Anthrope Agapa, allegedly the first protest rock-song in Greece. They only existed for two years and managed to release two albums (1971 and 1972). Their easy-listening ballad style made them very popular with Greek audiences. After Poll disbanded, Kostas pursued a solo career.

80's Portrait
80’s Portrait

Let’s go to our album:

In 1972 he released the album Απέραντα Χωράφια (Infinite Fields) based on songs he wrote with Poll but then blown up into a 35-minute (!) psychedelic pop-rock symphonic work which he presented with the group Ruth. This Magnus opus, much influenced by Beethoven, had no distinction into separate tracks, Kostas wrote and arranged it for a symphonic orchestra and provided vocals, guitars, and keyboards himself, as an autobiographical concept album. (!)

With a beautiful resemblance to David Axelrod’s work, Kostas managed to create multiple layers and passages along with the record. Brilliantly played and recorded, it helps us to enter into the greek rock scene, although it hasn’t much folklore or traditional instruments on it, this western rock-opera deserves your full attention!

Latterly
Latterly

Our usual highlights become one single track that flows into a rock combo with some fuzz, folk-ballads, sound effects, grand orchestra, and superb outcome. Goeie Reis!

Tracks Include:

A1 Απέραντα Χωράφια

B1 Απέραντα Χωράφια

Companies

  • Recorded At: Polysound Studio
  • Record Company: PolyGram
  • Phonographic Copyright (p): PolyGram Records S.A. (Greece)
  • Manufactured: Digital Press Hellas

Credits

  • Artwork Cover, Design Cover: Στέργιος Δελιαλής
  • Conductor (Διεύθυνση Ορχήστρας): Κώστας Κλάββας
  • Engineer, Effects (Ηλεκτρονικά Εφέ): Γιάννης Σμυρναίος
  • Orchestra: Ορχήστρα Της Λυρικής Σκηνής
  • Producer: Κώστας Φασόλας
  • Voice, Lyrics, Music: Κώστας Τουρνάς

Notes

Παίζει η ορχήστρα της λυρικής σκηνής και οι ‘Ρούθ’.

Polydor ‎– 2421027

Karpathos Costume
Karpathos Costume