Various: J Jazz – Deep Modern Jazz From Japan, Volume 3

Anyone wishing to explore Japanese jazz further shouldn’t hesitate to add the J Jazz compilations to their collection


The third instalment in a series of compilation albums, J Jazz Volume 3 – like its predecessors – is a deep dive exploration into modern jazz in Japan from the late 60s to the 80s. Compiled by Tony Higgins and Mike Peden for the BBE label, the compilation draws on a range of modern jazz styles including post-bop, bossa nova and electric funk.

Some personal highlights include the two melodic piano trio numbers Song For Hope by Aki Takase and Honey Sanba by Katsuyuki Itakura, Hideo Shiraki’s exemplary bossa nova Groovy Samba, the flamenco-guitar inflected Cumorah by bassist Eiji Nakayama, and Acoustic Chicken by the Koichi Matsukaze Trio featuring Ryojiro Furusawa, a 20-minute-long post-bop epic which serves as the compilation’s finale.

What makes J Jazz really special is that several tracks featured are first-time reissues. Having them now compiled on a series of CDs from a British record label is a real treat for fans of Japanese jazz. What’s more, selected albums from which featured tracks are taken (such as Song Of Island by the Yasuhiro Kohno Trio + One, and First by Kohsuke Mine) will be reissued as part of BBE’s J Jazz Masterclass Series.

This double CD comes with extensive liner notes that tell the listener all they need to know about the key players, recordings and albums for each track. Anyone wishing to explore Japanese jazz further shouldn’t hesitate to add the J Jazz compilations to their collection.

CD1: Song Of Island; Morning Tide; Kemo Sabe; Groovy Samba; Song For Hope; Cumorah; Phoebus; 1/4 Samba II (72.00)
CD2: Cumulonimbus; Burning Cloud; Planets; Wolf’s Theme; Honey Sanba; Kirisame; Black Nile; Acoustic Chicken (73.09)

In order of appearance per track: Yasuhiro Kohno Trio + One; Kohsuke Mine; Masao Nakajima Quartet; Hideo Shiraki; Aki Takase Trio; Eiji Nakayama; Hiroshi Murakami & Dancing Sphinx; Tatsuya Nakamura; Shigeharu Mukai; Ryojiro Furusawa Quartet; Masaru Imada Trio + 1; Seiichi Nakamura; Katsuyuki Itakura Trio; Ryusei Quartet; Hideyasu Terakawa Quartet feat. Hiroshi Fujii; Koichi Matsukaze Trio feat. Ryojiro Furusawa. Various locations, 1962–1985.
Barely Breaking Even BBE652CCD