Yagi Michiyo & Honda Tamaya – ‘Dojo: Ichi no Maki’

This is an intense and superb album by two master musicians. Yagi Michiyo plays electric 21 stringed koto, 17 stringed bass koto and electronics, and Honda Tamaya drums & percussion (guest trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer and drummer Paal Nilssen appear on only two tracks). Heavy, threatening improvisations balanced by some beautiful, delicate pieces, on first listen this became one of my favorite albums of the year. Ranked the #1 Jazz release in 2014 by Music Magazine in Japan, and well worthy of that position.

Here’s a good clip from Yagi & Honda’s tour of Poland at the end of 2014. I really look forward to their next album.

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Mr. OK Jazz is a 20+ year resident of Japan and spends all his free time wandering the Kanto area looking for jazz cafes, bars, clubs and record stores. For two years he hosted the OK Jazz radio show on InterFM Radio, currently the OK Jazz podcast. You can reach him at *protected email*