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«Live At SuperDeluxe Volume 1»

The beloved Tokyo venue SuperDeluxe was a place where it felt like almost anything could happen, and quite often – for nearly two decades – it did, until its premature closing at the beginning of 2019. The performance of the ad-hoc, multi-generational fiery quartet of legendary Japanese alto sax player-clarinetist-vocalist Akira Sakata, Danish alto sax player Mette Rasmussen with legendary American, Japan-based guitarist Jim O’Rourke and American drummer Chris Corsano at this venue in May 2017 was one of the most explosive ones in its history, and almost burned the house down.

At that time, Sakata and O’Rourke already worked together for more than a decade, in a quartet (with Chikamorachi – Corsano and bassist Darin Gray) while Rasmussen and Corsano solidified their fierce duo partnership that is still very much active. The rapport of this fiery quartet was immediate and it hit the gas from the first second of the first set, launching into a frenzied and furious, high-octane free improvisation, where Sakata and Rasmussen engage in a nervous tightrope walk of upper register screams. At the same time, O’Rourke unspools some of the most gnarly guitar noise this side of Masayuki Takayanagi and Corsano’s manic drumming pushing all the extreme edges.

But this super intense srt was not just about reaching the most scorching peaks. It showed careful attention to the other improviser’s sonic projections and individual aesthetics. This set bridged generational differences and individual approaches and united this quartet with a common cause, creating an ecstatic, liberating and spiritual experience. And this set also had a few more contemplative parts. Corsano was the first one to dive into a short yet epic solo, soon followed by an eccentric, throaty and wordless vocal one by Sakata. Then Rasmussen offers a beautiful solo with playful, snakish lines, and when Sakata picks the clarinet and joins her the quartet sounds as if flirting with jazz without being held captive by it.

Great album. Waiting anxiously for the second volume of this performance.

Eyal Hareuveni

Akira Sakata (alto saxophone, clarinet, voice), Jim O’Rourke (guitar), Mette Rasmussen (alto saxophone), Chris Corsano (drums)