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KBB

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Japan


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KBB biography
Although this instrumental fusion band has been around since 1992, they only released their first album eight years later and, my oh my, was it ever worth the wait! Imagine KING CRIMSON, UK, The MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA and early JEAN-LUC PONTY all rolled into one plus some discrete traditional Japanese references. Powered by the violin, KBB's music is dynamic, playful, intense and complex, yet melodic and surprisingly accessible. The band includes an exceptional violinist named Akihisa Tsuboy who also plays cellolin and guitar in addition to composing most of the material. The other members are keyboard player Toshimitsu Takahashi, bassist-guitarist Dani and drummer Shirou Sugano. All four musicians are extremely proficient.

Their two albums, "Lost and Found" and "Four Corner's Sky", will treat you to some feisty, bombastic passages interspersed with quiet, classical-style piano. The dense use of keyboards may give the music a more symphonic feel than, say, MAHAVISHNU, but the various time signatures within each track, the solid rhythm section, the interesting dialogue between the violin and guitar and the strong compositional contents all provide a variety of aural experiences guaranteed to keep you on your toes. All this blessed with a top-notch production. This is an adventurous, inventive and tightly-knit quartet worth keeping your eyes on. Violin-powered prog fusion doesn't get much better than this.

Absolutely essential for fans of early PONTY, RETURN TO FOREVER and SPACED OUT.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy KBB Music


Live 2004Live 2004
Import
Musea 2004
Audio CD$12.52
$12.95 (used)
Proof Of ConceptProof Of Concept
Import
Musea 2007
Audio CD$16.61
$14.99 (used)
Lost And FoundLost And Found
Import
Musea 2000
Audio CD$16.95
$80.12 (used)
Four Corner's SkyFour Corner's Sky
Import
Musea 2003
Audio CD$17.04
$11.49 (used)
Kbb - Age Of Pain [Japan CD] ARC-1162Kbb - Age Of Pain [Japan CD] ARC-1162
Arcangelo
Audio CD$27.62
Little ManLittle Man
CD Baby 2010
Audio CD$14.96
$80.12 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
KBB-AGE OF PAIN-JAPAN MINI LP CD F56 US $29.50 Buy It Now 4h 29m
KBB - LIVE 2004 NEW CD US $26.30 Buy It Now 13h 47m
KBB - LIVE 2004 [KBB] - NEW CD US $19.27 Buy It Now 23h 35m
Kbb - Live 2004 [CD New] US $22.25 Buy It Now 1 day
New String Trio NY Max Reger - String Trios Op 77b & 141b BASF #KBB 21642 US $14.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Kbb - Live 2004 CD US $23.27 Buy It Now 2 days
Michael Kbb Villmow - N CD US $18.29 Buy It Now 3 days
Richard Strauss - Capriccio - BASF KBB 21363 US $8.99 Buy It Now 3 days
From The Ground Up [PA] by Scare Don't Fear (CD, Jun-2014, KBB Records) US $7.86 Buy It Now 3 days
Clemens Krauss - Richard Strauss Capriccio - BASF - KBB 21363 - USA VG++/NM LP US $15.99 Buy It Now 3 days
SEALED 1973 LP MAX REGER Streichtrios Op 77 Op 141 New String Trio BASF KBB21642 US $9.99 Buy It Now 4 days
Lost And Found by KBB US $35.00 Buy It Now 4 days
Kbb : N CD (1999) US $4.31 Buy It Now 6 days
SOME SKUNK FUNK BY BRECKER KBB BIG BAND CD BRAND NEW US $9.95 Buy It Now 7 days
BASF KBB 21392 LP Schumann & Brahms: Violin Sonaten, Stoika Milanova, Frager US $6.00 Buy It Now 11 days
Giuseppe Verdi Othello BASF KBB-21360 US $9.99 Buy It Now 12 days
MICHAEL VILLMOW / KBB (KOLN) (BIG) (BAND) - N NEW CD US $21.21 Buy It Now 12 days
Proof of Concept Kbb CD US $49.67 Buy It Now 14 days
DONNA & KBB ARE MARTHA AND EVE US $2.43 Buy It Now 15 days
Michael Kbb Villmow - N [CD New] US $14.44 Buy It Now 16 days
BASF KBB 21642 stereo Nm MAX REGER String Trios - THE NEW YORK STRING TRIO 1973 US $3.00 Buy It Now 16 days
SEALED 1973 LP GALLUS MASS - VIENNA BOYS CHOIR BASF KBB 21303 US $9.99 Buy It Now 17 days
DONNA & KBB : ARE MARTHA AND EVE CD US $2.07 Buy It Now 20 days
Kbb : N CD (1999) US $2.07 Buy It Now 20 days
BASF KBB 21121 stereo Nm Gala Concert: Strauss.Lehar - HEINZ HOPPE/ ROBERT STOLZ US $3.00 Buy It Now 22 days
(CD) KBB - Four Corner's Sky / France Import / FGBG 4501.AR US $19.99 Buy It Now 23 days
SEALED 1973 LP Blumen Lieder Anneliese Rothenberger Robert Stolz BASF KBB 21458 US $9.99 Buy It Now 23 days
BASF KBB 21421 stereo Nm SCHUMANN Sinfonie/Overture - MARC ANDREAE/MUNCHNER 1973 US $4.00 Buy It Now 25 days
Villmow`s, Michael KBB-N CD NEW US $15.04 Buy It Now 25 days
VIENNA BOY'S CHOIR gallus mass LP VG KBB 21303 Vinyl 1973 Record US $22.50 Buy It Now 26 days
Live 2004 - Kbb New & Sealed Compact Disc Free Shipping US $26.87 Buy It Now 29 days
New String Trio New York Max Reger BASF KBB 21642 SEALED LP US $12.63 Buy It Now 29 days

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KBB shows & tickets


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KBB discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KBB top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 40 ratings
Lost And Found
2000
4.00 | 46 ratings
Four Corner's Sky
2003
3.99 | 39 ratings
Proof Of Concept
2007
3.45 | 20 ratings
Age of Pain
2013

KBB Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.55 | 9 ratings
Live 2004
2005

KBB Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.04 | 4 ratings
KBB Live 2005 Official Bootleg
2006

KBB Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KBB Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

KBB Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Four Corner's Sky by KBB album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.00 | 46 ratings

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Four Corner's Sky
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars First album by KBB was hailed by the prog press as a magnificent work, but this was not enough to keep Gregory Suzuki in the line-up, as he left KBB in 2001.Shortly after the band introduces Toshimitsu Takahashi as the new keyboardist.The fresh core would record a second album, ''Four corner's sky'', which was released both in Japan and Europe via Poseidon Records and Musea respectively in autumn 2003.

Suzuki left the band and took along his much symphonic keyboard orientations with Takahashi having more or less a more jazzy style of playing, indicated by the pronounced electric piano and the dominance of Tsuboy's violin throughout the album, which sometimes seems to cover the rest of the group.Even if KBB's style shifted towards less flexible grounds and focused on more Fusion-directed performances, the executions and arrangements remained rich, extremely virtuosic and fairly dynamic with a good bunch of solos, breaks and complex parts.There are even slight KING CRIMSON vibes in the colder cuts with an also familiar OUTER LIMITS mood, but more or less the Japanese kept a good balance between sinister atmospheres, romantic textures and highly technical moves.As aforementioned, Tsuboy's violin workouts are the main leading forces of this album, complemented by Takahashi's piano, organ, synths and electric piano in complicated compositions, full of intricate plays, fast runs and tempo changes, supported still by a very solid rhythm section.There are also a couple of more melodic pieces with a softer style, where the Classical influences come excusively out of Tsuboy's crying violin.

This is emphatic, violin-driven Prog Fusion with focus on complex, instrumental music.Not as masterful as KBB's debut, but again I doubt that many bands can come up with such a consistent and interesting sound.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Four Corner's Sky by KBB album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.00 | 46 ratings

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Four Corner's Sky
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars This is the second album from Japan's KBB and one that I was looking forward to. I haven't heard KBB's debut album, but have heard some of their songs and I still play Akihisa's album that he recorded with Natsuki Kido. Akihisa plays violin and guitar (and wrote 6 of the 7 songs); Toshimitsu Takahashi is on keyboards, Dani on bass and guitar and Shirou Sugano on drums. So quite an unusual line-up, and in many ways an unusual album: this is jazz-rock with very strong progressive tendencies. Curved Air is probably the closest comparison, but even that doesn't really cover it.

It is an instrumental album, but that is primarily because there is just no room for vocals. In "Kraken's Brain Is Blasting" there is a passage where all of the band take off in a tumultuous run with Akihisa just managing to keep in front. At times the others play a concerted piece which is at odds to the main melody, yet at others they are very much locked together. On "Slave Nature" there is a much more prog feel to proceedings with some great fretless bass just behind the lead instrument, whether it is violin, keyboard or electric guitar.

For those who enjoy complex instrumental music at its' very best.

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 Proof Of Concept by KBB album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.99 | 39 ratings

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Proof Of Concept
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars KBB are undoubtedly my favourite Japanese band, and not just because of the mastery of violinist Akihisa Tsuboy who leads the group, but the way that the quartet (Toshimitsu Takahashi (keyboards), Dani (bass) and Shirou Sugano (drums) are able to move seamlessly through different styles and seem at home in all of them. When I first came across Akihisa's album with Natsuki Kido ('Era') I was blown away as he reminded me so much of Ric Sanders, and that is the same here. He had a wonderfully fluid sound, and is able to bring a deft touch, knowing exactly what needs to be produced to get the best out of the song. I was more than a little confused when 'Rice Planting Song' came on, as that is gypsy folk at its' best and this is much more fiddle-playing than violin, but there are others when awe are treated to progressive jazz rock at it's finest. Opening number 'Inner Flames' commences with some drums fills before becoming something quite down and dirty, reminiscent of Colosseum II (violin instead of electric guitar) and some great Hammond organ sounds.

The major downside for me is that this album was released in 2007, and it doesn't appear that they have done anything since so I am not sure if they are still active or not. But given that it isn't unusual for them to have long breaks let's hope that there are still albums to come. www.musearecords.com

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 Proof Of Concept by KBB album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.99 | 39 ratings

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Proof Of Concept
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is KBB's third album and i'm not sure if i'm just not getting into this because it's simply more of the same or maybe it's because there is no guitar on it like their last album. Regardless, if your into all-instrumental music with lots of violin you need to check this Japanese band out. Once again Tsuboy puts on a show with his violin prowess.

Well there were two tracks that did grab me including this the opener. "Inner Flames" opens with a drum barrage then it gets heavier. Synths solo over top and the organ comes and goes. It does settle back after 3 minutes. Check out the bass 5 1/2 minutes in. This is intense. "Weight Anchor" features tastefully played violin only to start then it gets fuller just before a minute. "Stratosphere" is laid back and almost dreamy. Native-like drumming comes in after 1 1/2 minutes, violin too. A calm 4 1/2 minutes in then the violin starts to lead as other sounds join in. This is uptempo by the way. "Intermezzo" is led by drums and violin early on. Piano joins in as the drums stop temporarily. The violin gets intense then it settles after 3 1/2 minutes.

"Rice Planting Song" has some crazy violin in it and the drums are prominant late. Not a fan. "Lagoon Nebula" is the other track I like. It's fairly heavy with the violin playing over top. Organ comes in then piano. "40 Degrees" is a pleasant violin led tune. Piano and drums help out. Nice bass as well. The electric piano is great here. "Order From Chaos" sees the violin take off after 2 minutes. Organ comes in around 4 minutes then it settles right down with piano. Violin and drums return. bass too.

For me this doesn't measure up to their first two but violin fans should be happy with it.

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 Four Corner's Sky by KBB album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.00 | 46 ratings

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Four Corner's Sky
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another good release from this Japanese quartet although I like the debut quite a bit more. In fact I re-listened to it ("Lost And Found") tonight just to see if it was that much better than "Four Corner's Sky". And my conclusion is that it's definitely a step up, mostly because there's more guitar and emotion in my opinion. I think i'm in the minority with this opinion by the way.

"Discontinuous Spiral" kicks in right away with violin, drums and bass, but it settles in quickly. Synths after 2 1/2 minutes then the violin returns. A calm with violin and piano after 4 minutes then bass then drums return. "Kraken's Brain Is Blasting" is much better than the opener.The violin is more intense. We do get a calm before 2 minutes that lasts about a minute but contrasts do continue. "Horobi No Kawa" opens with piano then it turns fuller just before a minute.The violin is prominant before 3 minutes. "Back Side Edge" has a nice bass intro then it all kicks into a Fusiony flavour. Love the bass, electric piano and drums after 3 minutes.Then the violin comes in and leads.

"Slave Nature" is a violin-led piece but there is some organ in this one for a change. It does settles with piano before 2 minutes then the violin leads again after 5 minutes. "I Am Not Here" is my favourite. It takes a while for it to really get going, in fact it's after 2 1/2 minutes before we get a steady melody.This is great ! It settles back after 4 1/2 minutes and after 6 minutes. In between we get some intensity. It also picks up late. "Shironiji" is mellow with piano and guitar. It does build. A calm after 4 minutes with violin and piano.

While I may prefer the debut, this album is filled with extraordinary instrumental work. If your a violin fan definitely check this out.

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 Lost And Found by KBB album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.09 | 40 ratings

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Lost And Found
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars KBB are an excellent Fusion band from Japan led by violinist / guitarist Akihisa Tsuboy. "Lost And Found" is their debut and it's so professionally done, from the cover art, to the art on the cd itself, to the perfect production and sound quality,this is first class all the way. Of course these guys are also "lights out" when it comes to playing their instruments. This is an all- instrumental affair.

"Hatenaki Shoudou" opens with guitar, drums and organ in a fantastic intro.The bass joins in and is very fat just the way I like it. It settles some before a minute but it's still powerful. Synths come in. Violin finally arrives before 3 1/2 minutes as the organ runs and bass throbs. Amazing tune. "Catastrophe" opens with deep bass sounds and drums.Violin before a minute.This is intense. It settles right down before 4 1/2 minutes with piano and synths. Violin joins in followed by bass and drums. The tempo picks up before 8 minutes. Nice bass. "Antarctica" opens with piano as bass, drums and violin eventually join the party. A change after 2 minutes as the piano stops. It's darker and deeper with violin playing over top. Another change after 4 minutes as violin leads and the tempo picks up. This section really reminds me of KANSAS. A change again this time before 8 minutes as we get some atmosphere. This is great ! It kicks in after 11 minutes. Nice. It ends as it bgan with piano. "The Desert Of Desires" opens with synths as drums join in and the tempo picks up. Organ before a minute with chunky bass. The guitar follows ripping it up. A calm before 2 1/2 minutes with piano, then the guitar joins in as it solos tastefully. Synths before 5 1/2 minutes then the tempo picks up. The guitar is back before 7 minutes.

"Another Episode" opens with piano and drums. Violin joins in as the bass throbs. It settles 1 1/2 minutes in with piano. Violin again joins in as themes are repeated. Nice bass after 4 1/2 minutes then the violin starts to light it up. Guitar late. "Nessa No Kioku" opens with some atmosphere as the violin comes in. Bass before 1 1/2 minutes followed by drums as the violin just takes off. It settles after 3 minutes and turns spacey before kicking back in around 4 1/2 minutes with violin leading. Atmosphere before 6 1/2 minutes then the violin and bass start to lead again. "Divine Design" opens with some amazing violin before it settles in with some atmosphere including bass and drums. It's building. The violin is back. This sounds so good. It picks up before 5 minutes with organ out in front then violin.The bass is impressive too. A guitar solo before 7 1/2 minutes and later.

A must for fans of instrumental Fusion.

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 Lost And Found by KBB album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.09 | 40 ratings

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Lost And Found
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars KBB is a Japanese band formed in 1992 in Tokyo.They are led by composer/violinist Akihisa Tsuboy,a significant figure of the Japanese prog/fusion scene,who has collaborated with many artists both from Japan and abroad (Theta,Ashada,Vermillion Sands,Six North,A Triggering myth and others).Other members are Dani on bass,Shirou Sugano on drums and Toshimitsu Takahashi on keys.They released their first album ''Lost and found'' in 2000 on Musea.

STYLE: What seemed to be LOST during the new milleniumin in the Japanese prog scene was FOUND again by KBB: The highly energetic and grandiose sound of the mix between symphonic rock and jazz/fusion.KBB are a band that can play some trully captivating, adventurous and bombastic symph/fusion music,led by the violin of Tsuboy,the sharp keyboards of Takahashi and the talented rhythm section of Dani and Sugano.The whole album ends up to be a complicated journey through the different paths of music,helped by the great production.Intricate melodies give space to magnificent solos by guitars,violins and /piano/keys.Soft and relaxed musicianship disappears in the face of a mass of sudden breaks and the rise of complexity.This is what Japanese do best.

SOUNDS/INFLUENCES: Starting from Eddie Jobson's UK without their commercial side or JEAN LUC PONTY's solo albums and ending in traditional Japanese forces like KENSO,AIN SOPH,NEGASHERE and MIDAS (regarding the symphonic section).

PLUS: One of the best albums around to combine powerful solos,challenging interplays and strong melodies with such beauty.Tsuboy is already among my violin heroes,words are not enough to decribe his work.Keyboards are excellent from the solos to the background supporting role.The rhythm section is also very strong without a loose moment.Lots of memorable moments despite album's definite complexity.Crystalline production.

MINUS: I think the band should add some more relaxed themes for the greatest balance,as ''Lost and found'' is an album to be listened without a breath with so many themes and energy agoing on.

WILL APPEAL TO: Anyone into dynamic and energetic prog rock with changing themes such as heavy prog fans,symph/fusion fans,jazz/rock and Canterbury prog followers and the list goes on .

CONCLUSION/RATING: Seemed the Japanese symph/fusion had stuck in the early days of KENSO,AIN SOPH or MR.SIRIUS.But KBB appeared to remind us what Japanese musicians are capable of.One of the best prog albums of the new-era that flirts with the masterpiece title...4.5 stars please.

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 KBB Live 2005 Official Bootleg  by KBB album cover DVD/Video, 2006
4.04 | 4 ratings

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KBB Live 2005 Official Bootleg
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars

After their two excellent studio-albums Lost And Found (2000) and Four Corner's Sky (2003), this exciting new Japanese progrock band released the CD Live 2004, in 2006 followed by the DVD entitled KBB Live 2005 Official Bootleg (recorded in Tokyo). This was a special "Nearfest 2006 Limited Edition" release in order to celebrate KBB their performance on that famous annual USA progrock festival. I was already very impressed listening to Live 2004 but the experience of this DVD is great, what a stunning band!

KBB plays instrumental, very jazzrock inspired, the level of the musicians is mighty close to virtuosic and the interplay is awesome. Looking at this live DVD you can notice that the flowing and propulsive rhythm-section is a perfect foundation for the many solo escapades by keyboardplayer Toshimitsu Takahashi (lots of lush Hammond organ waves, sparkling electric piano runs and spectacular, often dazzling pitchbend driven synthesizer solos) and especially violin player Akihisa Tsuboy, he really shines. On his own website I read that Tsuboy has played in many bands and contributed to several albums in Japan, he was even a guest musician on the known Japanese progrock album Water Blue (1989) by Vermillion Sands! He has incorporated elements from JL Ponty, PFM, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Eddie Jobson in his sound in a very virtuosic and spectacular way: from dreamy to dynamic with a great build- up in Backside Edge, classically inspired and strong interplay with electric piano in Discontinuous Spiral, powerful and evoking Kansas in the very dynamic Shironiji and a wah-wah drenched sound in the sensational final track Tono (also including an outstanding synthesizer solo). My highlight on this DVD is the composition Inner Flames: a powerful and dynamic sound with compelling interplay between violin and Hammond organ, spectacular solos on synthesizer, violin and jazzy inspired piano and halfway the focus is on Tsuboy, he freaks out with a very distorted sound, a kind of "Jimi Hendrix meets Ritchie Blackmore", how sensational!

If you want to watch exciting new jazzrock (with 'multi camera shooting'), check out this live DVD by KBB, highly recommended!



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 Four Corner's Sky by KBB album cover Studio Album, 2003
4.00 | 46 ratings

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Four Corner's Sky
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Anyone that has a little world culture will tell you that Japan is probably the most enigmatic country anywhere, with peculiar quirks: a society that simply cannot infuse foreigners (hence no immigrants but baseball is OK), great at exporting (Toyota, Sony, Nintendo, Sushi), a land with the most hairy (the aboriginal Ainu) and least hairy humans but also probably the most appreciative audiences anywhere, just ask Deep Purple, Cheap Trick, Styx (Domo Arigato, Mr Roboto), McCartney, David Beckham or Tom Cruise. I have never heard of a famous nipponese rock band (except for the odd Sadistic Mika Band and the quirky Yellow Magic Orchestra) and while Japan literally saved prog from total oblivion in the 1980's by reissuing past prog glories on CD, they have a rather poor catalog of local progressive bands. Yeah! Ars Nova, Gerard, Bellaphon, Asturias, Kenso and Mugen were decent prog bands but the list of cheesy, wimpy and plastic copycat wannabes are sadly abundant. That's until KBB showed up on the radar, like a proud samurai ready to challenge the Prog world with the all-instrumental "Four Corner's Sky". Any band led by a violin can only bode well and Akihisa Tsuboy is a no disappointment. Unlike the jazzier JL Ponty or Didier Lockwood, the raw power of Jerry Goodman and the somewhat uninspired David Cross, Tsuboy can display virtuosity as well as versatility, plowing through material that audaciously explores the various confines of the Prog Frontier. He is ably abetted by some absolute stellar accomplices: the elegant Toshimitsu Takahashi on various keys and synths, the inventive Dani on whiplash bass and thunderous guitar and the brilliant Shirou Sugano handling all matters percussive. They can all rock & they can roll. They also can shred, bash, caress, groove and sizzle. The kickoff begins with the 7 minute "Discontinuous Spiral", a JL Ponty like piece that highlights a deep lyrical melody, held together by solid rhythm work, giving the maestro free reign to worship his violin with unabashed passion. But the magnum opus and cracking next track, the oddly named "Kraken's Brain is Blasting" delves very deeply into Larks Tongues/Starless & Bible Black/Red territory, showing how Wetton, Fripp and Bruford would of benefited with a true violin virtuoso (Cross was good but frankly out of his league even by his own admission). This 9.36 minute track erupts fiercely, spewing massive flows of reptilian bass, devastating crunch guitar, hysterical synths gone berserk and Sugano's monstrous drumming. You will need some liquid refreshment after this one, trust me. Next up is the gentler respite of "Horobi no Kawa", led by bucolic piano, inspired fretless bass and slick stick work that conjures up an image of a Tokyo jazz club, real chill stuff, the violin gliding along, gently swaying in the storm's lull. Awesome catskin runs slowly spiral into a spirited affair, proving again that these guys can play with the best. "Backside Edge" is even more pure classic jazz, with twists, turns and summersaults, bopping bass with a brilliant solo, grooving piano, swirling organ and rifling drum work, cymbals galore. Just some preparation before the violin kicks this sucker into overdrive with a dazzling solo that "howls" uncontrolled into some of the deepest realms of the prog universe. "Slave Nature" offers up a more Mahavishnu Orchestra-like environment, the violin pied- piping the flock into some organ driven landscapes, sparkling e-piano runs and some gritty electric rock guitar by Tsuboy. "I am not Here" is a 9 minute exploratory piece of music that navigates some avant- garde areas, with some liberal dashes of dissonance, a fiery Tsuboy solo that scrapes, claws and scratches along mercilessly, with various atmospheric interludes that defy any logic or direction (very free), stop-starting the proceedings in a typical improv manner. As the title may imply, this is spooky stuff, sort of like a possible soundtrack for the movie "I am Legend". Not quite my cup of sake but I am impressed by the audacity. The finale "Shironiji" is another genial highlight, a 10 minute composition that features some more stellar guitar work by bassist Dani, this time less Fripp and more Holdsworth, with some adventurous and at times, vertiginous fretwork that duels nicely with the Vivaldi-esque violin. All in all, a sturdy recommendation for those who enjoy a little virtuosity without falling into an aimless chopzilla contest. While not a masterpiece, this is a most pleasant offering from a land that loves its prog. Domo Arigato, indeed. 4 Rising suns.

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 Proof Of Concept by KBB album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.99 | 39 ratings

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Proof Of Concept
KBB Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars So now I purchased my "Proof of Concept" copy and confirmed my absolute adoration for KBB's jazz-prog vision. This has to be one of the most amazing prog highlights of the year, yet another masterpiece in KBB's impressive résumé. "Proof of Concept" pretty much follows in footsteps of "Four Corner's Sky" regarding sonorities and mood, albeit putting a somewhat greater emphasis on the powerful side of the energetic moments as well as the lyrical side of the introverted ones; you can also notice a reinforcement of the folk element when some exotic melodic ideas come to surface. The album kicks off with 'Inner Flames', an "old" piece that had already appeared in their live album and DVD: this studio rendition genuinely replicates the fire displayed in the previous versions, which shows how well can these guys express their emotional heat through their instruments, bsedies their technical ability. The incendiary violin and synth solos, the elegant vivacity of the rhythm duo, the harmonized cadences displayed by the bass and violin at unison, all these elements are majestically expressed in the almost 10 ˝ minutes occupied by 'Inner Flames'. Such an intense opening can only be succeeded by a contrasting piece, one with a more defined melodic candor - this pretty much explains what the beautiful 'Weigh Anchor!' is all about, a manifestation of romanticism and serenity, solidly portrayed by Tsuboy's violin (it reminds me of the Goodman-Hammer album). 'Stratosphere' comprises two distinct sections. The first one digs further into the deepest ends of introversion first alluded in the previous track, now being less romantic and going more toward the mysterious. There is a sort of "contraint" crescendo that keeps things elegantly crystaline, delivered in a firm manner while keeping the emotion intact. Next, the second section brings a very powerful, uptempo motif on a 7/8 signature, in which the light of frenzy shines with total brightness: the emergence of Arabic tones in the violin and keyboard solos are captivating, especially a very dynamic synth solo that kind of reflects a Hammer-meets-Jobson thing. No doubt that the duelling and alternetions between Tsuboy y Takahashi play a major role in thsi album's greatness. Then comes 'Intermezzo', the dreamiest piece in the album, focusing on the romantic from a contemplative, almost mystic stance. The sounds are delivered as if the listener was invited to stand still while the music flows, afraid that the slightest movement could ruin the momentum. 'Rice Planting Song' y 'Lagoon Nebula' have to be the "weirdest" pieces of the album, mainly because they exhibit musica lschemes that are not that usual in KBB's repertoire. 'Rice Planting Song' mixes the birations of circus-background music, Slavic folk and ska- fusion, showing off a partying mood: imagine something that Jean-Luc Ponty would write after enjoying records from Samla Mammas Manna and Alamailman Vasarat for three hours. On the other hand, 'Lagoon Nebula' lets og of the previous optimism and goes to somber textures. It is basically a mid-tempo jazz-rock piece showered with influences from Univers Zero (regarding density, not the scary factor): in this way, KBB ets a reminder of the most disturbing moments of their "Four Corner's Sky" album. Unlike all other tracks, "40 Degrees" was written by bassistDani - it is featured as a sort of tribute to Weather Report and Return to Forever, combining melodic transparence and dynamic presence. 'Order from Chaos' fills the album's final 9 minutes, stating yet another solid example of KBB's prototype - reasonably complex and energetic jezz-prog with touches of symphonic prog and some extra werid ornaments that add a bit of weirdness to a simple articulated motif. This is really a principle statement, making it proper to close "Proof of Concept", a progressive gem that should be part right away of any good prog collection.

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