Wednesday 23 January 2013

Misty - Japanese Jazz

More sales of BitPerfect are made in Japan than anywhere else, and by quite a large margin! We only wish we were able to communicate in Japanese with our largest and most loyal customer base! So, with the help of Google Translations, I am here to say a very big and heart-felt ありがとうございました

In recognition of this fact, I am recommending to you one of my all-time favorite jazz recordings, Misty, by the Tsuyoshi Yamamoto trio. Those who still cling to the belief that only American musicians could possibly understand jazz, take note!

This was originally released on LP way back in 1974 by the boutique Japanese label Three Blind Mice, which was formed to promote the accomplishments of Japanese jazz musicians around the world. Misty is probably their single most successful album, and is lauded worldwide as one of the very finest all-time jazz albums regardless of origin. In part, this is due to its original renown as an audiophile classic, but over the years the quality of the performance has garnered a more widespread acknowledgement among jazz aficionados.

Starting with the sonics. Oh yes, this is an audiophile must-have. Misty has some of the finest, most crystalline piano playing ever captured on tape. The clarity and purity of tone captured by the engineers at Three Blind Mice sets a standard that is rarely approached, even by today’s finest recording engineers. But then there’s the double bass, which, on the right equipment, is there with you in the room. I should mention the drums too …

Performance-wise, it is one of those albums that so totally immerses you in the music that you can easily forget the passage of time. I sat down to listen through it once more before writing this, and before I knew what happened I had played through the whole thing. I had to play it again, just so I could write more objectively about it. This is the sort of jazz I love – where the players are out to impress you more by their musicianship than by their virtuosity. And the Tsuyoshi Yamamoto trio are consummate musicians.

Misty is still available as an LP, and I still play mine, which I bought back in 1980. But you can also buy it in various guises of CD, both standard issues and audiophile grade, plus an SACD release which I am dying to get my hands on as a DSD download.

Highly recommended – whether you are Japanese or not! さようなら