Stark images, penetrating free-jazz passages, classical flourishes - those elements embody the debut release, "Invisible," from Japanese guitarist Osamu Moriyama.
Moriyama is a talented young artist who has developed exceptionally fluid technique. Born in Japan, he studied at Berklee in the mid-90s. An avid fan of Keith Jarrett, Moriyama also became interested in the classical music of Bach, Mahler, Rachmaninoff and Takemitus. Those influences dominate "Invisible," a deep-reaching release that explores varying elements of avant-garde jazz, new-age and classical styles.
"Invisible" consists of nine original compositions by Moriyamu, who alternates between electric and acoustic guitar. And aside from two acoustic solo numbers, he also fluctuates between bass/drums and bass/piano and piano accompaniment.
The mostly moderate-tempo pieces on "Invisible" stir up colorful yet austere images, as Moriyamu balances melancholic compositions with wide-ranging, airy guitar passages that are often contrasted by the backing of free-run bass and piano patterns.
"Open the Baroque" opens "Invisible" with Moriyamu’s guitar in flight in a lengthy free-ranging solo backed by drums and bass not limited by harmonic or time constraints. "Depression," a dark, passionate piano/guitar piece, features classically-influenced fret work and carries the listener through a crescendo-building story. "Urban March", a waltz featuring bass/drum/guitar trio, is the album’s prettiest number, and as a result, it’s most melodic. "The Other Ruin" features more of Moriyami’s fluid technique in open guitar soloing, backed by cymbal gongs and more free bass work.
"Invisible" is an acquired taste. While Moriyamu’s talent is enjoyable, it’s unlikely the compositional structures of this release will appeal to casual listeners or fans of more traditional jazz structures. And it’s not a CD that will occupy a home in your multi-disk player for repeated listens. It’s for that mood that calls for plenty of sobering contrasts.