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

Satori (Nara, 1981) (Enso, 1983) (Enso, 1997) ** with Gabriel Lee
Empty Bells (Sona Gaia 102, 19##) * (traditional Honkyoku)
Oriental Sunrise (Nara, 1982) (Sona Gaia, 1984) (Enso, 1991) ***
Evening Mist (Sona Gaia 114, 1984) ***
reissued as Sanctuary (Narada, 2000)
Memories Of Japan (Sona Gaia 134, 19##) * (traditional folk melodies)
Bush Clover & The Moon (Sona Gaia 248, 19##) * with Mike Ryan on synthesizer
Dream Within A Dream (Sona Gaia 253, 19##) * with Jim Franklin on synthesizers

A virtuoso of the bamboo shakuhachi flute, Riley Lee (Texas, 1951) is influenced by zen in his compositions, and frequently coupled with the koto. Satori (Nara, 1981 - Enso, 1983 - Enso, 1997) is the manifesto of his meditative style. In the 16-minute Satori, the flute intones arcane invocations and then roams a magical void, while the slow ticking of the koto marks the passage of time. Nightingale and Spring Rain are representative of his intense way of mixing meditation on the human condition and contemplation of nature. The melodic figures are barely sketched and let die as soon as they form. The koto is barely strummed, just to imply the existence of reality beyond the self.

Oriental Sunrise (Nara, 1982 - Sona Gaia, 1984 - Enso, 1991) adds the sounds of the ocean to the shakuhachi and the koto. The 22-minute Sunrise Suite is a sublime exercise in melodic abstraction. It slowly focuses on a wind-like pattern, but then dissolves again into galactic dust. The 23-minute Three Meditations is slightly more organized around a melodic core, and more traditional counterpoint with the koto, but still roams a vast distance.

Sanctuary (Narada, 2000) contains six lengthy improvisations for shakuhachi and koto. The 12-minute Evening Mist evokes a slow awakening, through a number of stages of ebbing and flowing of consciousness. Other pieces, such as In The Monastery Garden and the 15-minute Wintry Wind, have both an impressionistic quality and a ghostly quality. The music flickers in and out, like a distant light, never quite surrendering its essence. But the cryptic nature of the music is redeemed by the gentle melodies of Moon Shadows.

Other recordings include: Alone for solo shakuhachi, Autumn Field, Bamboo Grass, Bamboo Soup Small Defence with Riley Lee Breath-Sight, Buddha's Dream Deep Deep Night, The Eagle and the Ocean with guitar, Empty Sky, Evening Under the Sun with bass and percussion, Floating World (classical pieces), Fountain of Light with bells, Japanese Music for Two Shakuhachi, Lightning Man with Matthew Doyle on didgeridoo and Michael Atherton on percussion, Masters of Calm with guitarist Colin Wilson, Maui Morning, Memories of My Home with tabla and sitar, Mountain Valley (traditional Zen solo pieces), Nalu with Andy Rigby on folk harp and sounds of the ocean, Nesting of the Cranes for two shakuhachi flutes, Picture Dreams with Satsuki Odamura on koto, Postcards From Bundanon with Matthew Doyle on digeridoo, Rainforest Reverie for solo shakuhachi and natural sounds of the rainforest, Sea Drift, Shoalhaven Rise with ethnic percussion as well as strings and wind instruments, Spring Sea with harp, Taiko no Sekai, Train to Okinawa, Voices of the Night, Waiting for the Angels, Water Music solo shakuhachi, Wild Honey Dreaming with didjeridu, Synergy, etc.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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