Ryoko Ono & Rogier Smal Wood Moon

JVT0016 / TOZ017 (Jvtlandt / Toztizok Zoundz 2016)



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9 tracks
47:49 minutes

Ryoko Ono: Saxohone, vocals
Rogier Smal: Drums, percussion

Artwork and design by Simon Fowler

A chance meeting in Japan, a quick decision to meet again in Europe to record.
And then, suddenly, this: Improvised music that could go anywhere and
appeared in the form a sparkling, lush conversations drawing as much
on melodies and rhythms as noise and silence.

Ryoko Ono (Nagoya, Japan)

Saxophonist, flutist, composer and recording artist specializing in
improvised music and works for saxophone and electronics. She plays in
a wide range of genres, not only improvised music, but also blues,
jazz, progressive rock, noise, and avant-garde music. Her way of
playing is consistent throughout all of these styles. It is solid,
romantic inter-play. Ono leads her own group Ryorchestra and is one
half of SaxRuins with Yoshida Tatsuya. She has performed with Mick Barr,
Richard Pinhas, Toshiji Mikawa, Usui Yasuhiro and many others.

Rogier Smal (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Drummer who experiments with free percussion sounds. He plays with
different groups, musicians as well as solo. Lately Rogier has been
making sonic waves of liberty with gems like: Dagora, Marshall Allen,
Dylan Carlson, David Birchall, Eugene Chadbourne, Asuna Arashi,
Sunburned Hand of the Man, Mik Quantius, Cathy Heyden, Daevid Allen,
Nora Mulder, Arvind Ganga, Johannes Lunds, Maria Bertel, Don McGreevy
and many more.



Featuring Ms. Ryoko Ono on alto sax & vocal and Roger Smal on drums. If the name Ryoko Ono sounds familiar, it is because she is a member of Sax Ruins, whose second disc we listed last week (4/8/16). Ms. Ono also has a great solo disc out on Doubt Records which includes the Tatsuya Yoshida (from Ruins) on drums. Amsterdam-based drummer, Rogier Smal has worked with an eclectic cast of characters: Eugene Chadbourne, Marshall Allen and Daevid Allen. Together Ms. Ono & Mr. Smal make a most formidable duo! This sounds like a studio date and the sound is well-captured. There is a strong, spirited dialogue going on here. The duo take their time and start often quietly on the second piece, building in intensity throughout. The exchange back and forth is most extraordinary and intricate, even telepathic at times as they enter twine perfectly. There is a good deal of more subdued moments here in between those blast of fire. The more restrained pieces are much more diverse then one would imagine. There times when Ms. Ono sounds like John Zorn when she pushes the pedal to the metal with quick, zigzagging lines, circular-breathing is short bursts, bending those multi phonic notes inside-out and even dipping her mouthpiece into a glass of water, an old trick that Mr. Zorn used to do in the early days of the Downtown scene. This is a most extraordinary duo, one that won't be beat anytime soon I predict. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG

Bruce Lee Gallanter / Downtown Music Gallery



Ryoko Ono is one-half of Sax Ruins, the current incarnation of Tatsua Yoshida's febrile Zeuhl-rock project, but as this bracing duo set with French percussionist Rogier Small shows, she's worthy of serious attention as a saxophonist in her own right. Playing the dizzyingly complex music of Ruins requires precise articulation and Ono brings that sharpness to a freer context with aplomb, spiralling through boppish runs and harmolodic riddles, peppering it all with pinched squawks and waspish asides. On one track she switches to a strangely hip vocalese, her gibberish becoming increasingly demented as Smal turns up the heat. The drummer is an excellent foil, driving and physical when he needs to be, while taking inspired detours into metallic percussion abstraction and Sun Ra space trance.

The Quietus


Impressive free jazz team-up on Wood Moon (JVTLANDT JVT0016 / TOZTIZOK ZOUNDZ TOZ017) – it was a one-off meeting between the Dutch drummer Rogier Smal and the Japanese saxophonist, Ryoko Ono. Ryoko Ono is a new name to me but I’m very impressed by her fluent playing and uncluttered style; she gets on with the job at hand and makes “high energy” music seem like something she could do without breaking into a sweat, executing complex moves with ease. Her press points to her interest in several forms of music outside of jazz, including free improvisation and avant-garde noise, which is the kind of claim made on behalf of many a cultural omnivore these days. But Ryoko Ono, I learn to my advantage, has a history of adding her sax work to LPs by Acid Mothers Temple, and other unusual latterday Jap-psych records, such as releases by Atsushi Tsuyama, the zaniest member of Kawabata Makoto’s ever-changing collective. I’m now intrigued enough to start looking for records by Psyche Bugyou, whose output has strangely enough passed me by. Experimental skittery brush-work drummer Smal is also new to me, but anyone who makes a record with Dylan Carlson and has played alongside Eugene Chadbourne is welcome in this humble abode.

Wood Moon for the most part resembles John Coltrane for me, particularly some of the cuts on 1960’s all-time classic Giant Steps, except that Ono does the overblowing and sax-screaming thing with an incredible perfection – almost too perfect, in places making her performances verge on the synthetic, and I’m amazed at the way she can regain balance with such sangfroid after performing a series of near-impossible acrobatics with her horn. It’s kind of a samey sounding record too, most likely recorded at a single session, but for the presence of Track Four where we hear some of Ryoko’s charming vocalising, which she’s apparently able to do in between puffs on the sax. I’d have gladly paid double for an entire album of this surrealist jibber-jabber, where she appears to be possessed by a friendly Japanese demon. From 30 March 2016.

Ed Pinsent @ The Sound Projector


Sometimes, musicians active in opposite parts of the globe and playing in different musical genres can meet and immediately form a strong connection, based on a shared passion for improvisation and that rare instinctive understanding that sparks the best moments in free music, and their meeting suddenly sounds inevitable.

This is the case with Ryoko Ono, a saxophonist from Nagoya active in various musical styles and collaborating, among others, with Tatsuya Yoshida in the Sax Ruins duo, and Rogier Smal, an Amsterdam-based percussionist who has worked with diverse musicians like Marshall Allen and Eugene Chadbourne. After a chance encounter in Japan, they decided to meet again in Europe to record together and further develop what must have been an electrifying first meeting. The results are the nine improvisations contained in this CD, jointly released by Jvtlandt and Toztizok Zoundz.

The record starts with a blast: “Untitled 1” is an implacable sonic assault of blazing saxophone lines and thunderous drums in a flexible frame of gradual stops and sudden accelerations. The impact is breathtaking, and the track exemplifies the spirit that pervades the whole record, with Ono moving with striking dexterity around a myriad of melodic and rhythmic ideas, while Smal works on different percussive colors and precisely placed accents, modulating his muscular approach in a continuous open exchange with the saxophone. The instrumental quality of the musicians is impressive – from Ono's winding free-bop phrasing and unorthodox vocabulary to Smal's nuanced delivery and choice of timbres – but technique is never an end in itself, and is always used to shape and enrich the spontaneousness of a tight improvisational dialogue. The album is built on a variety of different strategies, always keeping the music firmly planted in its free jazz roots but developing the pieces with a clever compositional logic, mostly dispensing with thematic hooks but adding a meaningful dimension to each tune by other means, like the metal percussions of “Untitled 3”, Ono’s quirky vocalizing on “Untitled 4” or her circular breathing excursions on “Untitled 8”.

Consistently excellent from start to finish, this record is an astonishing debut by a powerful new improvisational unit, and nothing less than a revelation – an exhilarating musical world of telepathic interplay, fresh ideas and instrumental virtuosity.

Nicola Negri / The Free Jazz Collective


Half- facetiously Emily Remler once joked that she wasn’t really a young female Jazz guitarist, but the reincarnation of an old male jazz guitarist from years earlier. The same jape could be applied to Ryoko Ono. Instead of really being a young saxophonist from Nagoya, Japan, she could be the reincarnation of Cleveland’s Albert Ayler, who would be 80 of he was alive today, a lot older than Wes Montgomery or Grant Green would have been if Remler saw them in the 1970s.

At the same time in terms of the ferocity, the way she and Dutch drummer Rogier Smal blitzkreig the nine untitled tracks have the velocity and power of fictional Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel showing how the usual zero to 10 volume knob goes up to 11. From the get-go, like the desiccated vocal tones of her namesake, Yoko Ono, Ono’s reed program is nearly always altissimo pitched or higher, sharper than a fencing saber and shrill enough to inflect flesh wounds on any of the ears’ receptor organs. On “Wood Moon 4” she moans in a raspy, syllable-retching delivery that makes the vocalizations of Ayler and Y. Ono appear almost dulcet. With sophisticated technical command of her instrument as well, she tongues elongated phrases from her alto without a pause almost before she finishes intoning.

Ono, who is also part of the SaxRuins duo, and Amsterdam-based Smal, who has played with similarly outer-directed saxophones like Marshall Allen and Colin Webster, have also adopted Punk Rock-like condensed rapidity to Free Improvisation. As robustly quirky in his playing as she is in hers, Smal gives as good as he gets. If she wallows in the prickly spaces between timbres with bagpipe chanter-like overtones, he sets up a reasonable rhythmic facsimile that challenges and accompanies at the same time. “Wood Moon 9” for instance, may be described from Ono’s side as a symphony in screech and multiphonics, but here, as throughout the disc, his balanced cymbal clunks, whapped bass drum pressure and pulsated rolls clear a contrapuntal yet unswerving path through the miasma. Like a canny physiotherapist who knows exactly how much pressure to apply to the affected area, a track such as “Wood Moon 7” makes Ono’s output sound controlled as Smal mates it with maracas-like shakes. Never doubt that Ono is in control of her horn as well. Eastern Europe-styled freylach-styled saxophone timbres are heard after multiphonic runs on “Wood Moon 6” for instance. This downshifted interlude lets the drummer’s cymbal echoes and thunderous rolls do the heavy lifting.

Not a session Smooth Jazz fanciers or those who insist on coherent story telling will like. But if you’re inured enough to noise for its own sake – as anyone who has been listening to Rock music since the 1960s should be – then Wood Moon may impress on investigation.

- Ken Waxman / Jazzword


I first encountered Ryoko Ono as part of the pugilistic Sax Ruins duo at the Tusk festival in Gateshead last year. There, her razor-edged horn phrases tessellated into drummer Tatsuya Yoshida percussive flurries to create raw and intricate patterns that seemed at once too complex to be wholly improvised yet too fast moving and instinctive to reflect any compositional structure. If this duo with Dutch drummer Rogier Smal isn’t quite so intense, it still exudes plenty of aggressive energy for eager listeners to feed off, Smal’s swaggering beats opening up plenty of space for Ono’s blistering horn lines to blast on through.

Ono is, as you’d expect, in blistering form throughout, the diamond shards of her Sax Ruins playing allowed to stretch out into deep and wide calls. There’s no empty bluster here, though. For every overwhelming volcanic torrent – check out track 5’s sandpapery waves, for example (none of the tracls have titles, by the way) – there’s a shower of glorious sparks, as in track 7’s wriggling, high squeaks. The penultimate tune is even better, Smal setting things up with a kinetic run of brushes on snare before Ono joins for an extended circular breathing workout, the duo’s onward momentum like some intrepid pair of adventurers locked together as they plummet over a waterfall.

I’ve heard Smal in a few free improv configurations before now, in a pairing with Manchester based guitarist David Birchall as well as a trio with Birchall and saxophonist Cath Heyden, but this is the loosest and jazziest I’ve heard him play to date. Occasionally he launches into a polyrhythmic lurch that’s reminiscent of Steve Noble, as on the opening cut, where he rolls around his kit in a liquid rush, Ono firing out correspondingly sinuous phrases that are downright melodic at times. Elsewhere he dials down the grandstanding – on track 6, he confines himself to languorous tom thuds and cymbal crashes as Ono gives vent to a series of full-lunged, almost Brotzmannesque sax rasps.

With nine relatively short pieces Woodmoon never outstays its welcome, pitching the duo’s deep engagement with one another against just enough stylistic variety to keep us listening, and the odd quirk – the spoken word section in Track 4 and the bubbling gloop and screech of the final piece – to widen the palette enough more. What’s interesting is how the boisterousness of Smal and Ono’s playing never quite tips over into open warfare. Instead they engage in an sonic version of the old paper-rock-scissors game, with the lack of an overall victor resulting not so much in stalemate as eternal cosmic balance.

Paul Margree / We need no swords


«Wood Moon» was recorded after a chance meeting between Ono and Smal in Japan led to a decision to perform again in Europe. Smal recorded before with American guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, danish sax player Johannes Lund and trombonist Maria Bertel. This album offers nine short and unnamed free improvisations that stress the duo immediate rapport and urgent flow of ideas. The duo complementary dynamics rely on Smal muscular, fast-shifting polyrhythmic basis that keeps pushing Ono alto sax wails to wilder and more intense stratospheric terrains. But these fiery improvisations can suddenly, and often briefly, lock on a melodic theme as on the sixth one, or explore the resonating sonic spectrum of a series of fast multiphonics as on the ninth one. The fourth improvisation is the only exception. It features Ono reciting a stream-of-thoughts spoken words mixed with an inventive gibberish in a manner that brings to mind the hilarious speeches of fellow Japanese sax hero, Akira Sakata. This duo is just beginning to explore its great potential.

salt peanuts


Ryoko Ono is an improviser, saxophonist, flautist, composer and arranger from Nagoya, Japan. Ono has her own band Ryorchestra and is one half of Sax Ruins with Yoshida Tatsuya. Rogier Smal is a Dutch drummer, who loves to experiment with free percussion sounds. Former companions included Anne la Berge, Marshall Allen, Eugene Chadbourne, Peter Zincken, Sunburned hand of the man, Daevid Allen, Nora Mulder, to name a few. After meeting in Japan, Ono and Smal decided to do some concerts in Europe, and from that ‘Wood Room’ resulted. An exhausting listening experience, one continuous eruption of energy. But they don’t lose themselves in producing an overwhelming bath of noise and energy only. There is far more to it. We witness an inspired, often sparkling interaction of two musicians of equal energy level and presence. We hear fiery battles with melodic themes enclosed sometimes, as in ’Wood Moon’ where Ono introduces a jazzy theme that sounded familiar. In ‘Wood VIII’ she opens with a Philip Glass-like theme, a piece that demonstrates they can also do things more quietly. In total one can enjoy nine improvisations, ‘Wood Moon I’ up to ‘Wood Moon IX’, most of them around five minutes. Smal is operates on the same level as Ono, equally determining the content of these improvised conversations that result in moment of a bold intensity, where the music becomes more than the sum of its parts. The CD is a co-release of the Danish Jvtland label and Dutch Toztizok Zoundz, that has more Smal-involved releases in their catalogue. (DM)

Dolf Mulder / Vital Weekly


A new free jazz moonshine provided by a Japanese saxophonist Ryoko and an Amsterdam-based percussionist Rogier has come to me, happy to say. Saxophone play by Ryoko is quite aggressive, addictive as expected, and drumming or percussion sound by Rogier, whose play I've not listened to so far, is pretty flexible and freaky like a drunken kung-fu fighter. Very curious how the big two would go into battle upon the album field with each other, and finally their musical battle has let me shout "it's crazy great". Cannot realize what would come out at the next moment. Cannot help listening to this whole world with massive palpitation.
Anyway no title cannot be found out upon every single track but who cares? Guess this album might entirely consist of a 47 minute suite divide into 9 movements. Sounds like Ryoko's avantaholic saxophone vibe is a love rollercoaster upon a solid but dissected percussion wave launched by Rogier in every movement. There are three mysteries or marvelous phenomena - firstly Ryoko a ladylike lady plays so explosively (what a mismatched music theory), secondly improvisation-oriented saxophone play and flexible somewhat egoistic drums / percussion machine-gun can get unified with each other like nuclear fusion, and thirdly (just my tuppenny though) there might be kinda methodology under that the duo write a composition.
Apparently it's splendid they would create a variety of sound appearance and colourful orientation through only two instruments. Activity, believability, creativity, diversity, eccentricity ... are their ABCDE in this creation. And what do you say in the track 4 Ryoko? (LOL)

DamoXt7942 @ Prog Archives


昨年のベストの一枚に選んだ「Alternate Flash Heads」をはじめ、これまでに私が聴いてきた小埜さんのアルバムはどれもコンセプチュアルな体裁のものばかりだったが、こういうシンプルな編成で、エッジの立った素晴らしい音とケレンない即興の醍醐味を存分に味わわせてくれる作品を待っていた。中には、日本語とインチキ外国語っぽい言語のチャンポンのようなスキャット(これは言ってみれば、坂田明さん以来のフリージャズ・アルトサックスの伝統であろう)や、マウスピース芸が披露されるトラックもあり、そういったものを含めてとても楽しいアルバムだった。

Outward Bound / あうとわ~ど・ばうんど



The Walker’s Vol.45


昨年のベストの一枚に選んだ「Alternate Flash Heads」をはじめ、これまでに私が聴いてきた小埜さんのアルバムはどれもコンセプチュアルな体裁のものばかりだったが、こういうシンプルな編成で、エッジの立った素晴らしい音とケレンない即興の醍醐味を存分に味わわせてくれる作品を待っていた。中には、日本語とインチキ外国語っぽい言語のチャンポンのようなスキャット(これは言ってみれば、坂田明さん以来のフリージャズ・アルトサックスの伝統であろう)や、マウスピース芸が披露されるトラックもあり、そういったものを含めてとても楽しいアルバムだった。

Joefree @ あうとわ~ど・ばうんど


とにかく心地よいのだ。もう「心地よい」という言葉しか感想として出てこないほどだ。しっかりした作りのアルバムだが、ジャケットのタイトル名とかミュージシャン名がデザイン的すぎてまったく読めない。録音日も録音場所も曲名もなんにも書いていない。これは一切の情報を遮断して無心に聴けということなのか。というわけで聴いてみると、なるほど、これはすごい。ここまでアコースティックでガチンコで即興一本勝負の小埜涼子のアルバムがかつてあっただろうか。アルトは太い音で上から下まで鳴り響き、ドラムもダイナミックに空間をリズムで埋め尽くし、これだこれだこういうのを聞きたかったのだと叫んでしまった。もちろんこれまでのリーダー作も凄かったが(というか、その徹底した変態的な透徹ぶりはそれらのほうが凄い)、等身大・ノーギミックの小埜涼子のすさまじさというのは本作において存分に発揮されている。林栄一とのデュオアルバム2枚もそうだったが、アルト一本でただただ吹くだけで小埜涼子はこんなにも凄いのだ。この楽器の鳴り、高音部の叫び、ハーモニクスの歪み……アルトが身をよじって「もうやめてくれ。これ以上息を吹き込まないでくれ」と泣き叫んでいるようなイメージすら伝わってくる。よく似たタイプの音を出すアルト吹きは世界中にいるが、音が薄くてぺらぺらなひとも多く、小埜涼子のように腰の据わった、ドスの利いた太い音をうえからしたまで吹けるひとは案外少ないと思う。この「音」とテクニックがあるからこそ、フリーをやっても変拍子プログレをやってもスラッシュをやってもブルースをやっても説得力があるのだ。本作では、ただひたすら生真面目に押しているばかりではなく、ドラムもときどきアホなことをやったりして、ユーモアのある自由なアプローチをしているが、小埜涼子もデタラメな言語(日本語の会話と無意味な「音」の狭間みたいな感じ?)を駆使したフリージャズ的バップスキャットみたいな必殺技を披露したり、マウスピースを水に突っ込んでぼこぼこいわせたり(音だけ聞いてると、たぶんそう)して、バラエティ豊かな構成になっており、(たぶん)ゴリゴリのフリーはしんどいという向きにも受け入れられると思う。いやー、かっこええ。たぶん今、世界でいちばんかっこええアルト(のひとり)なんじゃないですか? 6曲目の冒頭のところなんか、美味しすぎて泣く。そして、このふたりの絡み方は尋常ではなく、ものすごく真っ当に(というのも変だが)しっかりと絡みつき合って、そこがまた心地よいのだよなー。傑作としか言いようがありません。

田中啓文 @ http://www004.upp.so-net.ne.jp/fuetako/


Rogier Small is een drummer die de laatste jaren steeds vaker laat horen in verschillende samenstellingen. Onder andere in samenwerkingen met Dylan Carlson (Earth) en Cathy Heyden, maar ook in zijn band Dagora en solo heeft hij de laatste jaren veel optredens door heel Europa en de VS gedaan.
Op de CD Wood Moon werkt de in Amsterdam wonende Smal samen met de Japanse saxofoniste en vocaliste Ryoko Ono (SaxRuins en Ryorchestra). In deze samenwerking krijgen we een fijn jazzy geluid te horen, waarin het wat minder heftig er aan toe gaat dan in de meeste andere releases waar Smal aan mee werkt. Er is zeker heel veel ruimte voor improvisatie want zowel Smal als Ono gaan geregeld goed los. Maar toch blijft het geheel wat relaxter.
De saxofoon van Ono klinkt vaak erg warm en bevat zeer veel melodische doch vrije stukken die met speelse drums worden begeleid. De twee muzikanten weten elkaar erg goed te vinden in de muziek waardoor het als een goed geheel klinkt. Iets wat soms met improvisatie nog wel eens wil misgaan.
Een fijne aanwinst voor het avontuurlijke Toztizok Zoundz.

De Subjectivisten


Ryoko Ono & Rogier Smal - Wood Moon' (Jvtlandt/Toztizok Zoundz, 2016)

Van het een komt het ander. Drummer Rogier Smal toog met pianiste Nora Mulder, met wie hij zeer regelmatig samenspeelt, naar Japan. Daar maakte hij kennis met saxofoniste Ryoko Ono en nu ligt er 'Wood Moon', een duo-cd.

Bepaald zachtzinnig gaat het er hier niet aan toe. Ono blaast krachtig en zoekt veelvuldig de hogere regionen van het notenspectrum, met haar zangerige, ietwat springerige stijl van blazen. Smal is, zoals de liefhebbers reeds weten, een creatief slagwerker, die met een uitgebreid arsenaal aan technieken de meest wonderlijke klanken weet te produceren. De beide musici hebben elkaar op dit album dan ook duidelijk gevonden en weten de luisteraar van begin tot eind te boeien. Opvallend is dat dit album geen aanduiding van de diverse nummers, negen in totaal, bevat en dat de stukken dus ook geen titel hebben. Het vormt geen probleem bij deze muziek.

In nummer 4 horen we Ono Japans spreken en scatten, ter afwisseling van haar saxspel, in dialoog met Smals opzwepende slagwerk. Samen creëren ze een energieke combi. In 5 horen we Ono op sopraansax als een oververhitte slangenbezweerder, terwijl Smal hier zorgt voor een ritmische bedding, culminerend in een al te enthousiaste solo, waar de vonken van afspatten. Diezelfde sopraansax klinkt in 6 hartverscheurend en klagelijk. Smal zorgt hier vooral op de bekkens voor krachtige markeringspunten. In 8 weeft Ono, middels circulair breathing, een magisch resonerend patroon en laat dat prachtig contrasteren met Smals al even magische en vederlichte spel.

Ben Taffijn @ Draai om je oren


Fanstastisch! Man trifft sich zufällig in Japan und entschließt sich spontan, bei nächster Gelegenheit in Europa einen Tonträger aufzunehmen. Ja, nur so entstehen derart leichtfüßig feurige Duo-Improplatten. Die japanische Saxofonistin und Flötistin Ryoko Onound der holländische Trommler Rogier Smal erweisen sich auf Wood Moon als wahre Meister der Spontankomposition, sind immer beieinander, immer auf Puls, nehmen, geben, zünden, löschen, explodieren, lachen, leiten, begleiten – schnell, fokussiert, konkret, seriös und mit Humor. Sich mit voller Spielfreude in allen dynamischen Bereichen beheimatet fühlend, sprühen auf diesem hölzernen Trabanten die Funken, wenn die beiden Musiker sich dem Fluss ihrer erfrischenden Konversation hingeben. Dass es sich bei beiden Beteiligten dieses dialogischen Parforce-Ritts um hervorragende Klang-Rhetoriker handelt, muss man für Genre-Kenner natürlich nicht weiter erwähnen. Ryoko Ono hat sich beispielsweise seit spätestens 2006 als Hälfte der Saxruins mit dem legendären Yoshida Tatsuyaam Schlagzeug, oder auch an der Seite von Mick Barr und als gelegentliches Mitglied der massiven Acid Mothers Temple in die Herzen der Fans gespielt. Auch der niederländische Free-Drummer braucht als Mitglied des infernal verträumten Trios Dagoraund der Liste seiner bereits erfolgreich betrommelten Musikerkollegen (Eugene Chadbourne, Dylan Carlson, Nora Mulder u. a.) nicht hinterm Berg zu halten. Gemeinsam präsentieren sie auf Wood Moon ein wahres Feuerwerk musikalischer Intuition, die spannendsten (knapp) 48 Minuten intuitiven, nackten Duo-Shreds seit langem und für Insidermit Sicherheit eine DER Genreplatten 2016. Organisch, catchy, gnadenlos. A Traum. Bitte, danke.
(dr. wu)



Ryoko Ono & Rogier Smal: Wood Moon (Jvtlandt)

Et kort møde i Japan førte til en beslutning om atter, at mødes i Europa. Denne gang for spille og indspille deres musik. Den japanske saxofonist og vokalist Ryoko Ono, der har bred erfaring fra impro, blues, jazz, rock, noise og avantgarde mødes på pladen Word Moon med den hollandske percussionist Rogier Smal, der bl.a. hat indspillet med danskerne Johs Lunds og Maria Lund og amerikanske legender som Eugene Chadbourne og Marshall Allen. Sammen har de indspillet 9 numre, der befinder sig i et perlende friskt improviseret møde. Musikken er fri, ubundet og øjeblikkets umiddelbart fremkomne idéer. Improviseret musik, der i nogle poetiske og forunderlige forløb virker som en samtale mellem to fremmede mennesker der mødes i fælles forståelse.

Smal’s ukonventionelle percussion kan give mindelser om eksempelvis PO Jørgens. Det er meget afvekslende og idérigt - i et spænd mellem det flydende og decideret rytmik, som f.eks. på det andet sidste af pladens 9 unavngivne numre. Her varmer han godt op under Ono’s saxofon, der danser og hvirvler rundt om trommerne. Det er til tider heftigt og i andre situationer poetisk medrivende.

Niels Overgård / Jazznyt


Za přelomovou spolupráci je považováno setkání japonské saxofonistky Ryoko Ono a nizozemského bubeníka Rogiera Smala na albu Wood Moon. Tyto dvě výrazné osobnosti improvizační scény natočili devět tracků, skladeb bez nutnosti pojmenování. Neboť je v nich obsaženo vše, co se dá hudbou vyjádřit. Díky amsterodamskému labelu Tortizok Zoundz ve spolupráci s dánským vydavatelstvím Jvtland tyto nahrávky pak 4.března vyšly na CD.

Přívlastek přelomová je v případě jejich spolupráce na místě. Mezi nimi funguje naprosto přirozeně až (kon)geniální komunikace, jsou na jedné vlně nejen muzikantsky, ale také ideově. Oba protagonisté jsou ostřílení improvizátoři – Ryoko Ono má vlastní kapelu Ryorchestra a je polovinou SaxRuins, Rogier Smal hrál např.s Marshallem Allenem, Dylanem Carlsonem, Eugenem Chadbournem, Asunou Arashi či Davidem Birchallem. Příležitost zahrát si takto spolu v duu využili beze zbytku. Vznikla tak deska, jejíž obsahem je mnohotvárný život člověka přetavený do srozumitelné, byť často expresivně vypjaté improvizované hudby. Pozoruhodnější o to více, že podíl neidiomatické improvizace, jež v současné době free-improvisingu vládne, je podstatně menší...

Oba aktéři vycházejí hlavně z free-jazzu, kde dueta tenorsaxu a bicích byla častá již od raných 70.let (viz.např. Rushied Ali & Frank Lowe), ale vnášejí do něj více evropského ducha. To znamená neovlivněného africkými polyrytmy a šamanstvím vůbec. Dokáží být brutální i lyričtí, uvnitř každé skladby panuje nepřetžitý párový pohyb, jen zřídka ten který hlas osamí. V tracku č.4 zazní i lidský hlas (neartikulovaná polodeklamace Ono), jenž ovlivňuje stavbu kompozice. Všechny skladby gradují, a to mnohdy až eruptivně, s vražednou silou vulkánu. Intenzita je ale ve všech fázích proměnlivá, muzikanti ji užívají k hlubšímu ponoru do interakce, zároveň až fyzicky pociťovaného vnitřního pnutí; tím obohacují celkový výraz o další dávky emocí, zvukových barev, dokonce útržků podvědomých melodií. Proto již v pátém tracku slyšíme náznaky gospelu či spirituálu, takže se projev Ono a Smala nakonec vydává k samotným pramenům free-jazzu. Následující (šestá v pořadí) skladba se stává dokonce výletem do šírého světa, neboť vedle bluesového feelingu je sycena též arabskou a balkánskou taneční melodikou! V závěru strhujícího, více než osmiminutového toku saxofonistka užije snad všechny možné rejstříky svého nástroje, včetně atonálních. Typické prvky neidiomatické hry použije Ono ve dvou skladbách (7 a 9), ale nikoli jako hlavní stavební nástroj, ale jen jako výrazový prostředek, od níž se improvizace odpíchne; v poslední skladbě je to například žbluňkání. Saxofonistka mne ale doslova srazila na kolena dechberoucími bachovskými legaty v tracku č.8. Smekám v nelíčeném údivu!

V hudbě na albu Wood Moon je prostě všechno. Jako v životě...

Jan Hocek / His Voice