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Kenso - In The West CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.69 | 21 ratings

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Squire Jaco
5 stars An instrumental, jazzy Yes.

I know, I know....that's oversimplifying things. But that was my first impression when I heard this cd (in much the same way that many people have characterized the sound of the group Niacin as "an instrumental, jazzy ELP"). Even though the Kenso sound is probably better compared to groups like Happy the Man, Focus or Bruford, there seems to be a lot more symphonic-progginess to their jazz-fusion music that sets them apart from those bands. Imagine Yes playing prog-fusion instrumentals.

Their unique sound is further differentiated by the interjection of Japanese scales and melodies in many of the compositions. Plus they have TWO keyboard players (Kenichi Mitsuda and Kenichi Oguchi), which is unusual for a jazz fusion ensemble, and adds to the symphonic prog references. Masayuki Muraishi plays some monster drums with very inventive ideas over some complex time signature changes, and bass player Shunji Saegusa plays a clear, heavy-sounding bass with a lot of melody (think Chris Squire....with shades?). The leader of the group and main songwriter is guitarist Yoshihisa Shimizu - a great talent, reminding me at times of Steve Howe and Stanley Whitaker (of HTM).

Favorites on this cd include Sora Ni Hikaru (from their second album), Beginnings, and Mediterranean and Aryan...but there aren't any clunkers on the whole cd, folks.

Do not hesitate to buy this cd if you like any of the bands I mentioned above. It is GREAT, and the sound quality is superb. Many of Kenso's albums are kind of hard to get, so this live performance from 1997 provides sort of a "best of" with the band at their peak. Plus some of their other live albums (of which there are several) are either of poorer sound quality or contain most of the same song titles found here on this album. This is the one to get! Start your Kenso collection here. You won't be disappointed.

Squire Jaco | 5/5 |


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