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30 May 2017

Osamu Kitajima “Masterless Samurai” 1980 Japan Jazz Fusion,Jazz Rock






Osamu Kitajima “Masterless Samurai” 1980 Japan Jazz Fusion,Jazz Rock
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This is a reissue of his 3rd album "Masterless Samurai", which was originally released by Headfirst/MCA in 1978.
When the album came out, the renowned music critic Nat Hentoff wrote in Cosmopolitan magazine: One of the year's most fascinating aural-emotional experiences.
For Osamu's fans, this is one of the eagerly-awaited albums among his classics launched as CD............

I first heard this album from about the middle on NPR radio when I lived in Berkeley, CA in my 30s. I got lucky, they announced the title and author after it played. Aparently it was a rare album even then. It took me almost five years to track down a copy of the vinyl. By then an album in 'playable' condition was nearing $50. The shop I found it in brought it up from their basement, dusted it off and sold it to me for half the original price. Needless to say, I became an obsessive/compulsive audiophile over that album. I took great care to only play it on top end, high quality equipment, and only to cut master tapes from which I cut playing tapes. I'd cut a master tape, then cut playing tape from that. When the playing tape wore out I'd cut another, until the master tape wore out, then I'd cut a new one of those. Eventually I lost the album to a fire. This release is something I have waited for many decades to find. THANK YOU, Amazon, for offering us this rare and wonderful treat. This album covers Japanese history in music; from the ancient times of the samurai with traditional flute and koto; through modern times with piano music influenced by their adoption of American lifestyle. If you want to know the evolution of music in Japan, this is an indespensible body of work. It is a true masterpiece, in that it shows the artist's mastery of the art. Highly reccomended for any audiophile and music lovers.........ByArgiod Silvertongue...........

Few pieces of music have captured by attention quite how "Golden Mean" did the first time I heard it. Although I am not a musician myself, it does seem to be structured in such a way as to mimic the golden ratio that marks some of the greatest pieces of art and music the world has ever know, e.g. much of the art of Leonardo Da Vinci and the overture of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Few pieces truly stand up to years of repeated listening, but Osamu Kitajima's "Golden Mean" does that and more. If that was the only song on this album I liked, I would still declare an absolute victory with my purchase!

But there are a plethora of fantastic music on this album! The title track is charged, engaging the listener from the moment it begins, and features an orchestral arrangement seldom heard in modern recordings. Another song to which I took an immediate liking was "Sei...Essence" which just had a way of penetrating my stress-triggered defenses, allowing me to forget all else for the few minutes it last. Then there are a number of other songs that did not grab me upon my initial exposure, but quickly grew on me as I listened to the album more and more. What I love about Osamu Kitajima is that he truly brings forth the unique beauty of Japanese music and sensibility to his work. Pieces like "Golden Mean" and "Breath of Night" take the time to draw the listener into the fabric of their arrangements with ornate and ambient overtures that, for my money, strengthen the whole and take it to an artistic level rarely heard.

I never thought I would hear would hear music written by Osamu Kitajima that I like more than B000003YZO Behind the Light, but this album nearly rivals it! In truth, the two albums cannot be fairly compared with one another; his 1992 release was so clinical in its precision and execution while this rare gem from 1980 is rife with the lively arrangements that a complete band of musicians can provide. This composer, multi-instrumentalist, and top-notched producer has released an impressive and varied catalog worthy of seeking out and hearing, but I would recommend these two albums for anyone purchasing his work for the first time........ByP. Alan Highley.......

Born in Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan in 1949 Osamu Kitajima (喜多屿修) runs his own East Quest Records, Inc. label. His music is an easy and very light combination of traditional Japanese tunes with contemporary electronic performance.
1960'sCollege rock band, The Launchers, became one of the most successful groups in Japan
1970's Produced and wrote hundreds of jingles for TV commercial. Received Hollywood Radio & TV Award, ACC and CLIO Award.
1971 Moved to UK, after graduated from the prestigious Keio university (Japan). Worked with British bands, and associated with famous musicians as Paul Rogers, Barry Gibb, and Al Kooper. After back to Japan, established his original sound through 3 years study of Japanese traditional music and worked with living national treasures of Japan, such as Kisaku Katada and Reibo Aoki.
1974 Moved to California. Made a contract with Island USA as the first Japanese artist.
1978 Contracted with MCA/HEADFIRST (USA)
1979 Captured the imagination of Clive Davis and made a contract with Arista Records.
1985 Admired by Christine Reed and made a contract with CBS (Pre-SONY). From that time on, released more than 15 solo albums and worked for Hollywood TV and motion pictures, also produced records and CDs for various artists in US and Japan.
2000 Established own record label, East Quest Records, Inc.
2002 Performed with London Symphony Orchestra for Joe Curiale' s album "Music of Life" and nominated for Grammy Awards.
2004 Developed a new and revolutionary natural healing technique called " Musicolor Therapy " utilizes sound and color. Established Musicolor, Inc. Also, started distributing East Quest label through Shinseido/Watanabe Music Publishing Co. in Japan.....................................

Masterless Samurai is probably the best effort by Osamu Kitajima, a japanese multi instrumentalist better known in the West for his later New Age albums.
In Masterless Samurai, Kitajima combines traditional Instruments of Japan (Koto, Sakuhashi, Sho) with a western jazz-rock ensemble thus obtaining excellent results. The album is immersed in the serenity and poetics of the Samurai, but it also expresses a brilliant and explosive vitality, in rythms, epic moments like the sonic background of multicolored swordsmen spinning and fighting around their destiny.
Masterless Samurai can also be seen as a concept album inspired by the traditional story of the Ronin,(17 samurais that had lost their master in the hands of a traitor and whose only purpose was to recover their dignity to be able to die with honor). I have never tired of listening to this album. I recommend it to those who like prog and fusion with exotic touches. An excellent and very much forgotten work.

Keep Listening!!!..........ProgNotFrog......................

Oom Dooby Dochas present a reissue of Osamu Kitajima's Masterless Samurai, originally released in 1980. A more world music and definitely a more progressive fusion rock approach is what defines Masterless Samurai, the second album by Japanese prog warrior Osamu Kitajima. On Masterless Samurai, he takes his vision of merging Japan's traditional music with progressive rock and jazz music of the west even one step further than he did with his previous albums. Excessive flute lines of Eastern origin, funky intricate grooves, and fiery synthesizer eruptions are the basic ingredients for most of these impressive instrumentals. The fusion elements are strong in this sound and all the exotic elements from Japanese classic music pull each song far out of the mass of similar acts emerging in the late '70s. Leave behind the Pink Floyd comparison and go for the Canterbury jazz-rock scene, with Caravan and Soft Machine as leading figures, and Osamu Kitajima definitely fits in between these giants due to his creative vision of a progressive world rock music. Don't take the rock elements as utterly physical heaviness; the album rocks but in a more delicate way. The sparkling lines of the electric piano can tell where this record goes. And even a rather gentle tune, like the instrumental ballad "Floating Garden", shows a wicked and progressive edge with expressive sax runs and cool twists and turns, despite the all-in-all relaxed atmosphere...............

Credits
Acoustic Guitar, Biwa, Synthesizer, Shamisen, Bells [Suzu], Koto – Osamu Kitajima
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Drums – Alex Acuna*, Russell Kunkel*
Keyboards – Victor Feldman
Music By – Osamu Kitajima
Organ – Brian Whitcomb
Percussion – Geoffrey Hales
Shakuhachi – Kazu Matsui
Tenor Saxophone – John Klemmer
Vibraphone – Bobby Hutcherson
Violin – David Mansfield

Tracklist
A1 Golden Mean 5:37
A2 Wild Monk 4:18
A3 Sei... Essence 3:15
A4 Hitsuku... Where Is The Real Japan? 4:00
A5 Masterless Samurai 5:12
B1 Breath Of Night 6:59
B2 Edo Townsfolk 3:47
B3 Floating Garden 3:37
B4 Koshaku... To The Point 3:56
B5 Whoga... Grace 3:42



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