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Japanese Jazz Funk: "Bamboo" by Minoru MURAOKA (1970 Gatefold LP Reissue)
Japanese Jazz Funk: "Bamboo" by Minoru MURAOKA (1970 Gatefold LP Reissue)

On "Bamboo" by Minoru MURAOKA, enjoy a moving fusion of Jazz and traditional Japanese music as shakuhachi, koto, shamishen and taiko instrumentation merge with elements of Funk in synths and conventional drums. Muraoka's unfamiliar crossover stands as enthralling, smooth and peculiar as the day it was conceived.

About "Bamboo" by Minoru MURAOKA by Egon of Now Again Records/NPR Funk Acreaology:

"One of the records was Minoru Muraoka's Bamboo. I'd not come across Muraoka's name in any of my searches, so I listened patiently to the koto (a stringed instrument similar to a zither) introduction to "The Positive and the Negative." A rolling bass line set the stage for funky-enough drums that soon gave way to Muraoka's shakuhachi, or bamboo flute. A cascading koto sat in for chicken-scratched guitar. "What in the hell do you call this?" I asked. "Shakuhachi Jazz," Ogawa replied, with an "Isn't it obvious?" air. He then sheepishly admitted that the album wasn't for sale, as Muraoka's discography was extensive and his records were rare.

So, over the past seven years, I've made it a point to buy any Muraoka album I come across. Some are goofy attempts at crossover: His cover of the '30s jazz standard "Harlem Nocturne," for example, is far from essential. But when Muraoka stretched out in the psychedelic era of the late '60s through the mid-'70s, usually with his groups The Life Theaters and The New Dimensions, he created haunting, difficult-to-compare music that you file as "jazz" only by default. The dozen or so Muraoka albums that I've kept at home are by far my favorite examples of Japanese jazz."

Purchase your copy of "Bamboo" above on used CD at Amazon or grab the new limited-edition gatefold LP here at Juno UK.

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