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Toshiaki Yokota & Primitive Community (1971)

In 1944, Toshiaki YOKOTA was born in Tokyo. He'd played flute since his childhood while he appeared on stage as a professional flutist when he was 17. Through his own outfit Toshiaki Yokota & The Beat Generation or Kohsuke ICHIHARA's project Love Live Life (+1), he founded another twelve-piece ensemble named GENSHI-KYODOTAI (Primitive Community) in 1971 with Shunzo OHNO (trumpet), Kimio MIZUTANI (guitar), Kimio KOIZUMI (bass), Yusuke HOGUCHI (Hammond organ), Larry SUNAGA (percussion), Pedro UMEMURA (percussion), Tadaomi ANAI (percussion), Yoshinori NOHMI (percussion), Fujio SAITO (percussion), Minoru ISHIYAMA (percussion), and Chito KAWACHI (drums). "Primitive Community" (1971) was their only one album released via a Japanese major label Toshiba Ongaku Kogyo (at present EMI Music Japan). Toshiaki has played also in Takeshi Inomata & Sound L.T.D., and currently plays as a solo jazz flutist on stage all over the world, upon mass media, or so. (source)

Toshiaki Yokota’s connected to two different albums, each bearing his name and dating back the early seventies. The flutist and band leader had a hand in a variety of different recordings during the decade, but these two – Flute Adventure with the Beat Generation and Primitive Community with, well, the Primitive Community – are being sought after in a crazed, voracious manner. The latter disc hasn’t been properly reissued to a Western audience as of yet, but Flute Adventure came along not too long ago. Either situation makes for difficult searching seeing as even if works by a guy like this are in print, there’s still not a huge market for them. Just a small, fanatical one.

It’s curious, though, that Flute Adventure, the first of the two albums to be initially released and then re-released – is really the lesser effort. Granted, that’s relative and obviously based upon personal preference. But the bossa nova of “Ofelia,” assumed related to Shakespeare’s doomed character, is so god-awful cheesey that there’s no reason to ever revisit the composition after getting a load of it in the first place. That being said, it’s pretty amazing to hear a group of Japanese players appropriate these sounds during the time that Flute Adventure was recorded.

Elsewhere on Yokota’s first album, there’s just about any genre of music one might decide is required listening. The disc even opens with a guitar-psych workout called “Clair Deluge.” Thing is, Primitive Community  opens with “A Forbidden Ceremony,” which is almost able to take in every genre its predecessors exudes and turn it into a ten minute voyage. All the theatrics come during the second half of the song, but even the build to that aural dumping easily trumps “Ofelia.”

This more rare disc, with a notably less bothersome title, even looks cooler – to me at least. While that opening track isn’t necessarily indicative of what happens next, all the percussion listeners might ever need to hear form the basis for the album’s final two cuts – “Flying” and “Black Narcissis.” The former sports more than a few nods to Western rock stuffs, but when Yokota’s flute kicks in, the entire composition turns – and for the better. It’s in these tiny moments of wild combination that the music works best. It’s not east or west or east meets west. It’s just creative music being performed by adept players. And that’s all that’s really necessary. (source)

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