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Basser Live by Tatsu Aoki

The Asian Improv label has to be one of the most interesting labels around. They are the only International label showcasing the works of Asian Americans performing Jazz and Creative music. Bassist Tatsu Aoki has recorded several albums from solo to group recordings. This latest effort finds him in a trio setting. With Paul Kim on Korean Buk, and John Sagami on the Taiko drum, Tatsu is in a supportive environment that allows him to not only stretch out but also explore various musical avenues on his bass.

The opening track, "Wed Lock" is a deep introspective number that begins with John Sagami and Paul Kim's haunting drum work. At times the drums sound like a heart beat maintaining a constant rhythm before diverting to other rhythmic sounds. Tatsu weaves a carefully constructed web of sound a la Charlie Haden that is both moving and eloquent.

"Fly Dee" begins with Tatsu carefully plucking the strings in a moanful manner. Simple yet effective is his style here. The sounds emanating from his bass. Picking up the pace, Tatsu continues to explore the moment. It is interesting and also invigorating to listen to someone creating in the moment and searching for something, beautiful, pensive, who knows? It's the journey that counts and Tatsu takes the listener on an unforgettable one.

Tatsu's creation, "A Night" begins with a bass sound like no other. Harsh sounds intertwine with lightly played skeletons of an emerging melody, only to tease the listener but at the same time the sense of discovery always present. Tatsu exploring the wide range of sounds that are possible.

"Fisherman's Song" begins with some bass drumming, as well as the various percussive sounds from John and Paul. Sparse in nature, but adding an interesting dimension to the piece, making this a most wonderful piece. Both drummers laying the foundation in march style rhythm. Tatsu's bass gently working in and around the rhythm. This is certainly one of the many highlights that are present in this recording.

Over the years, Tatsu Aoki has developed a unique style that he carries with him in many different musical situations. He is one of the most in demand musicians on the scene today. Up and coming bassists would be wise to study Tatsu's style and approach to bass playing. Tatsu's ability to surround himself with musicians who can offer him support and further his explorations is both uncanny and demonstrates the flexibility Tatsu has as a musician who is willing to take chances and further his art.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tatsu Aoki
  • CD Title: Basser Live
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 1999
  • Record Label: Asian Improv
  • Musicians: Tatsu Aoki (bass), Paul Kim (Korean buk), John Sagami (Taiko drum)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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