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Spirit of the Sun

Kyoto Jazz Massive

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Album Review

Taking their moniker from a Gilles Peterson quote, brothers Yoshihiro and Shuya Okino first caught the ear of the downtempo glitterati through a series of releases for Compost which successfully blended '70s fusion with broken beats and bossa cool. Their debut album continues from where these singles left off, with shimmering keywork playing amongst fatback bass and a set of talented vocalists. Despite the occasional falter on to the wrong side of the faux-jazz tracks — Victor Davies sounding more Alexander O'Neil than nu soul sensation with the excruciating lyrics of "Deep in Your Mind," while the brass of "Between the Lights" elegantly captures the spirit of thankfully long-lost '80s jazz romantic Kenny G. — on the whole this is a well-rounded first full-length outing. Vanessa Freeman proves a fantastic talent, her vocal plunged into a sensuous mix of Rhodes in "The Brightness of These Days," while the brothers' broken beat instrumentals swirl convincingly behind complex arrangements and softly spoken keys. A highlight comes in Guida de Palma's delicious bossa shuffler "Shine."

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The forerunners in Japanese nu-jazz, Kyoto Jazz Massive initially began in the early '90s when brothers Shuya and Yoshihiro Okino decided to start DJing together. After a number of singles were released, the group signed to German label Compost, who released Kyoto Jazz Massive's debut, Spirit of the Sun, in 2002. The next year, the brothers remixed tracks from the Compost, Jazzanova, and Sonar Kollectiv catalogs on Fueled for the Future, and in 2006 the label celebrated their decade in the game by...
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Spirit of the Sun, Kyoto Jazz Massive
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