Toshinori Kondo
(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso)

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Japanese trumpeter Toshinori Kondo is the most celebrated improvising musician of his country.

In 1976, the group EEU (Evolution Ensemble Unit), featuring Toshinori Kondo (Japan, 1948) on trumpet, drummer Toshiyuki Tsuchitori, saxophonist Mototeru Takagi and bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa, released Concrete Voices (november 1976). Starlight Furniture Company, which was Kaoru Abe on alto saxophone, Motoharu Yoshizawa on bass, Derek Bailey on guitar and Kondo, released Aida's Call (may 1978).

In 1978 Kondo relocated to New York and his career picked up speed: Moose & Salmon (february 1979 - Music Gallery, 1978), a collaboration with guitarist Henry Kaiser and saxophonist John Oswald; Environment for Sextet (november 1978 - Ictus, 1979 - New Tone, 1996), a live jam with Polly Bradfield on violin, Andrea Centazzo on percussions, Eugene Chadbourne on guitar, Tom Cora on cello, John Zorn on sax and Kondo on trumpet; Artless sky (october 1979), a collaboration with guitarist John Russell and drummer Roger Turner; Possibilities of the Color Plastic (july 1979 - Bellows, 1980), a collaboration with Eugene Chadbourne; Imitation of Life (may 1981 - Atavistic, 2001), with cellist Tristan Honsinger, Steve Beresford (mainly on toy instruments), guitarist and flutist David Toop; The Last Supper (november 1980 - Po Torch, 1982), with drummer Paul Lovens; Death is Our Eternal Friend (september 1982 - IMA, 1982), with Lovens and Paul Lytton; etc.

His first solo album was Fuigo From a Different Dimension (march 1979 - Bellows, 1979).

Back in Japan, Kondo formed International Music Activities (IMA). His own Quartet (Tristan Honsinger on cello, Peter Kowald on bass, Sabu Toyozumi on drums) released What Are You Talking About? (may 1983 - IMA, 1983). Another project, Tibetan Blue Air Liquid, released Kuuchuu Fuyuu (june 1983 - Domo, 1983 - Absord, 1999). Taihen (march 1984 - Polydor, 1984) backed the trumpet with the rock format of guitar-drum-bass. Metal Position (april 1985 - EFA, 1985) used a similar setting with the addition of Haruo Togashi's synthesizer and piano. Konton (Epic, 1986) featured a line-up of trumpet, keyboards, guitar and drums. His proximity to rock music was confirmed by the EP China Boogie (december 1984 - Polydor, 1985), featuring Bill Laswell, Anton Fier, Fred Frith, etc.

337 (Epic, 1987) was his first movie soundtrack.

Both Kamikaze Blow (february 1989 - Alfa, 1989), Human Market (november 1987 - Alfa, 1989), Tokyo Rose (october 1989 - Alfa, 1990), Godzilla Funk (Alfa, 1991), Brain War (King, 1992) employed Haruo Togashi's Keyboards and a bass-drums-guitar trio.

His style evolved towards melodic trumpet phrases dropped inside a soundscape of found noises, dissonance and free-form electronics.

New recordings included the solo Touchstone (Moon, 1993), Red City Smoke (Moon, 1993), a collaboration with the band IMA, the inferior Club New Light (Moon, 1993), that contains two remixes, a cover and the rap Just Damage.

In 1993 he moved to Amsterdam and began playing his trumpet in natural environments, as documented by Israel (Calling, 1995).

Die Like a Dog (august 1993 - FMP, 1994) featured a quartet of Kondo, saxophonist Peter Broetzmann, bassist William Parker, drummer Hamid Drake. The album contained one lengthy 67-minute improvisation in two parts, Little Birds Have Fast Hearts. It became the name of the quartet, which later released Little Birds Have Fast Hearts No 1 (november 1997 - FMP, 1998), Little Birds Have Fast Hearts No 2 (november 1997 - FMP, 1999), Aoyama Crows (FMP, 2002).

Other recordings include: the six-movement suite Panta Rhei (Racing Club International, 1994), the live album Kobe 17.01.95 (Eikoh, 1996), Variations of the Theme - The Divine Comedy (Alchemia, 1997), that contains six remixes of the title-track, Ki-Oku (Sony, 1998), a collaboration with DJ Krush, Nerve Tripper (2003), a collaboration with DJ Sahib on turntables, etc.

Charged (R&S, 1999), Spiritual Nature (2001), Re-Charged (R&S, 2001) are collaborations with Eraldo Bernocchi and Bill Laswell. Life Space Death (Meta, 2001) is only with Bill Laswell.

Fukyo (Tzadik, 2005) returned to the solo trumpet format but, alas, fragmented in brief pieces that are mostly meaningless.

(Translation by/Tradotto da Davide Carrozza)

Il trombettista giapponese Toshinori Kondo è il più celebrato improvvisatore del suo paese.

Nel 1976, il gruppo EEU (Evolution Ensemble Unit), con Toshinori Kondo (Giappone, 1948) alla tromba, il batterista Toshiyuki Tsuchitori, il sassofonista Mototeru Takagi e il bassista Motoharu Yoshizawa, rilasciò Concrete Voices (novembre 1976). Gli Starlight Furniture Company, formati da Kaoru Abe al sax alto, Motoharu Yoshizawa al basso, Derek Bailey alla chitarra e Kondo, rilasciò Aida's Call (maggio 1978).

Nel 1978 Kondo si trasferì a New York e la sua carriera prese velocità: Moose & Salmon (febbraio 1979 - Music Gallery, 1978), una collaborazione con il chitarrista Henry Kaiser e il sassofonista John Oswald; Environment for Sextet (novembre 1978 - Ictus, 1979 - New Tone, 1996), un'improvvisazione dal vivo con Polly Bradfield al violino, Andrea Centazzo alle percussioni, Eugene Chadbourne alla chitarra, Tom Cora al violoncello, John Zorn al sax e Kondo alla tromba; Artless sky (ottobre 1979), una collaborazione con il chitarrista John Russell e il batterista Roger Turner; Possibilities of the Color Plastic (luglio 1979 - Bellows, 1980), una collaborazione con Eugene Chadbourne; Imitation of Life (maggio 1981 - Atavistic, 2001), con il violoncellista Tristan Honsinger, Steve Beresford (che suona principalmente strumenti giocattolo), il chitarrista e flautista David Toop; The Last Supper (novembre 1980 - Po Torch, 1982), con il batterista Paul Lovens; Death is Our Eternal Friend (settembre 1982 - IMA, 1982), con Lovens e Paul Lytton; ecc.

Il suo primo album solista fu Fuigo From a Different Dimension (marzo 1979 - Bellows, 1979).

Tornato in Giappone, Kondo formò la International Music Activities (IMA). Il suo quartetto (Tristan Honsinger al violoncello, Peter Kowald al basso, Sabu Toyozumi alla batteria) rilasciò What Are You Talking About? (maggio 1983 - IMA, 1983). Un altro progetto, Tibetan Blue Air Liquid, rilasciò Kuuchuu Fuyuu (giugno 1983 - Domo, 1983 - Absord, 1999). In Taihen (marzo 1984 - Polydor, 1984) la tromba era accompagnata dal formato rock chitarra-batteria-basso. Metal Position (aprile 1985 - EFA, 1985) usava ambientazioni simili con l'aggiunta di sintetizzatore e pianoforte di Haruo Togashi. Konton (Epic, 1986) comprendeva una formazione con tromba, tastiere, chitarra e batteria. la sua vicinanza al rock fu confermata dall'EP China Boogie (dicembre 1984 - Polydor, 1985), con Bill Laswell, Anton Fier, Fred Frith, ecc.

337 (Epic, 1987) fu la sua prima colonna sonora per film.

Kamikaze Blow (febbraio 1989 - Alfa, 1989), Human Market (novembre 1987 - Alfa, 1989), Tokyo Rose (ottobre 1989 - Alfa, 1990), Godzilla Funk (Alfa, 1991), Brain War (King, 1992) ospitava le tastiere di Haruo Togashi e un trio basso-batteria-chitarra.

Il suo stile evolveva verso frasi di tromba melodiche gettate in ambienti di rumori trovati, dissonanze ed elettronica free-form.

I nuovi dischi includevano il solista Touchstone (Moon, 1993), Red City Smoke (Moon, 1993), una collaborazione con gli IMA, l'inferiore Club New Light (Moon, 1993), che contiene due remix, una cover e il rap Just Damage.

Nel 1993 si trasferì ad Amsterdam e iniziò a suonare la tromba in ambienti naturali, come documentato in Israel (Calling, 1995).

Die Like a Dog (agosto 1993 - FMP, 1994) comprendeva un quartetto formato da Kondo, Peter Broetzmann al sax, William Parker al basso, Hamid Drake alla batteria. L'album conteneva un'improvvisazione di 67 minuti, divisa in due parti, Little Birds Have Fast Hearts. Divenne il nome del quartetto, che in seguito rilasciò Little Birds Have Fast Hearts No 1 (novembre 1997 - FMP, 1998), Little Birds Have Fast Hearts No 2 (novembre 1997 - FMP, 1999), Aoyama Crows (FMP, 2002).

Tra le altre registrazioni: la suite in sei movimenti Panta Rhei (Racing Club International, 1994), il live Kobe 17.01.95 (Eikoh, 1996), Variations of the Theme - The Divine Comedy (Alchemia, 1997), che contiene sei remix della title track, Ki-Oku (Sony, 1998), una collaborazione con DJ Krush, Nerve Tripper (2003), con DJ Sahib, ecc.

Charged (R&S, 1999), Spiritual Nature (2001), Re-Charged (R&S, 2001) sono collaborazioni con Eraldo Bernocchi e Bill Laswell. Life Space Death (Meta, 2001) è solo con Bill Laswell.

Fukyo (Tzadik, 2005) tornò al formato per sola tromba ma, purtroppo, frammentato in pezzi brevi che sono perlopiù insignificanti.

(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso)
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