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(46:39; Groove Line Records)
Guru Guru drummer/vocalist Mani Neumeier needs no introduction, but here he is appearing in a quite different format. Recorded in Urasoe City, Okinawa Prefecture in February 2019, here he is providing drums and coral plate percussion, which is quite unusual. He has been joined by Takeshi Ishihara (guitar – right channel), Halls (guitar – right channel), Uechi Gacha Kazuya (bass – right channel) and Kengo Sakamoto (bass – left channel). The result is a psychedelic jam band playing improvised music which is really quite interesting, and actually has more to it than the live Guru Guru album I reviewed recently. To hear someone of his age be as sprightly around the kit is nothing short of incredible. At the time of the recording he would have been 78, and if it wasn’t for Covid he was planning to play 200 gigs in 2020. I keep thinking back to my grandfather who seemed like an old man when he died, but he was only in his Sixties. This is not just someone playing 4/4 either, he is all over the kit and always driving the others forward. It is the bass which often keeps the band musically in line, but there are also times when they are also off on musical tangents, and Neumeier is just all over the place. The two guitarists are doing their own thing, rarely interacting with each other, but following their own melodies and styles, and the result is free jazz with strong percussion that is actually an enjoyable romp as opposed to something unlistenable. Certainly worthy of investigation.
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