Private deep, spiritual jazz out of Toronto from 1979. You may recognize saxophonist Michael Stuart either from Doug Riley's excellent album Dreams released on PM or the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, whom he would have been on tour with shortly before cutting this recording. Anyway, his playing here along with the rest of the musicians is exceptional, moving from soulful to fierce to exploratory. A very highly recommended album that seems to have been largely neglected in the dustbins—until now! Check out the soaring modal track 'Awakening' below
Taken as a whole, the music of The Book Of The Heart displays seemingly opposing characte-ristics of my musical self. But this is only an appearance. For me, form and freedom, melody and abstraction, are parts of a continuum. To be able to move back and forth between the apparently contradictory qualities in music – to do so creatively, sensitively, freely, deliberately – to be 'master of the option' is my long-term goals as a musician and a composer.
"Pastoral" is Watanabe; it is the putting together of everything he has learned in the past 18 years. His experiences in jazz, the classics and the blending of sounds and rhythms show him off as the complete musician. Having been on hand for this most unusual recording session, I can personally attest to Watanabe's virtuosity and inventiveness. The session was long and arduous because Watanabe is a perfectionist. He would play and listen, play and listen and then play it all over again. Sadao doesn't like to think of himself as only a jazzist although he has played with some of the best, both in the United States and Brazil. His good friends Gary McFarland and Chico Hamilton have had some influence on him, but what he does, he does from somewhere deep inside his soul. All of the compositions in this album are Watanabe's and it should establish him as one of the best young composers in Japan. Sitting through this album is an experience. It is one of the finest recordings my ears have heard in a very long time. Watanabe inspires; he reaches for the heights; he satisfies the most critical jazz buff while never offending the casual listener. This is a true test of greatness.