Bassist Tatsu Aoki is a Chicago jazz veteran, having appeared on 70 albums as a sideman and another 30 as a leader. On First Look, AACM legend Roscoe Mitchell joins Aoki in a masterful series of sound explorations. Both musicians roam comfortably around the tonal spectrum: Mitchell moves from sliding sax and breathy flute to ringing bells and rattling chimes, while Aoki delivers thick plucks, textured bowing and precise percussion. Most impressive are the tracks in which Aoki hones a repetitive bass line for Mitchell to run around and glide over. “Number Five Wings Place” is like a painting made of sound, with Aoki’s tactile notes dripping onto Mitchell’s impressionist canvas. “The Journey” vaults Mitchell to a horn-bending peak over Aoki’s falling drums, and “Out” rides rumbling bass and glistening percussion off into the distance.
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