29th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 13-16 October, 2016
Exias-J Vilnius Jazz'2004
Exias-J (Japan):

Hideaki Kondo - guitar
Takuo Tanikawa - guitar
Jun Kawasaki - double bass
Yoshisaburo Toyozumi - drums
Kuniaki Konno - dance
Kei Nakano - visual image
Motohiko Takeuchi - visual image

It became a tradition that during the Vilnius Jazz Festival the Lithuanian audience is granted an opportunity to get acquainted with the representatives of new jazz from Japan.

The Japanese nu jazz musicians are famous by their inventiveness and courage. This time it is a band called EXIAS-J.

EXIAS-J is the abbreviation for EXperimental Improviser's ASsociation of Japan. In this association got gathered musicians and aesthetes as well as representatives of various arts, such as jazz and academic music composers, cinematographers, sound designers, dancers, philosophers, etc. The concept of EXIAS-J work is the creation of experimental sound and space; the method of the group's work is the expression of art synthesis, and the outcome of all their work is the new interdisciplinary piece of on-stage work of the XIst century. The synthesis of video, movement and new music is used in the multimedia projects of the group.

One of the music concepts is EXIAS-J itself. The group is of no particular structure or musical forms, and every time it revives. With every new project the ambitious members of EXIAS-J are trying to 'deconstruct' and 'reconstruct' Japanese music and find the new way for Japanese music development.

The musicians put in contrast the sounding of classical European free and free jazz classic, electronics, minimalist and rock music.

EXIAS-J gathered together in 1999. In 2000 the group released their first CD. In some years the group found their niche in Japanese culture. Currently EXIAS-J works are documented by a pile of CDs, with part of the pieces being acoustic and part - electronic ones. WIRE magazine acknowledged avant-garde, the fifth album of the group, released in 2003 as "Improvised Music best 16 Records of the year".

The establisher and leader of EXIAS-J is a guitarist, composer ant theoretic Hideaki Kondo. He is the one who is the central figure in all activities of the group. As a guitarist Hideaki Kondo performed various music, e.g. jazz, tango, avant-garde. In 1991 he founded a group Lady Godiva's Operation that used to combine avant-garde music and experimental movies. Hideaki Kondo is a music erudite, who in his works tries to give a meaning to "acoustics as physics" and "acoustics as psychology". Referring to the idea that music is the product of science and philosophy, Hideaki Kondo developed his personal style and gathered a group of like-minded persons. They formed the basis of EXIAS-J. Besides his activities with EXIAS-J, Hideaki Kondo makes music for movies, performs and records together with a number of famous musicians.

From the very first day of EXIAS-J existence the guitarist Takuo Tanikawa is together with the group. The guitarist of precise technique finished classical guitar studies in the University of Cologne, Germany. In his tunes the expression of classical music penetrate through the filter of Japanese sensitivity. Besides his work with EXIAS-J group the guitarist leads other bands and creates cinema music.

He upright bass player Jun Kawasaki is exceptional by his unbelievably unique technique. The musician is usually called the young genius. The music he performs is of a very large scale - from tender lament to frenzied expression. Jun Kawasaki also leads other bands, is the music leader and composer to the representative of Japanese traditional dance, Nishikawa Senrei.

The drummer of the group Yoshisaburo Toyizumi is an 'old-timer' of Japanese jazz stage. He plays drums from the age of ten. When the musician was a teenager, he established a band where he played various different instruments and from 1965 he began his career as a professional musician. From 1967, together with the band Samurais the musician had an eighteen months' tour in Europe. In 1969 Yoshisaburo Toyizumi began to play free style. In 1971 Yoshisaburo Toyizumi joined A.A.C.M., the famous Chicago gathering. From 1972 the musician spent a couple of years in Paris where he played together with a number of famous European musicians, toured in Indonesia and Brazil. In 1975 Yoshisaburo Toyizumi established his own group, called Sabu Unit, in the late 70s he played duos with Kaoru Abe. From 1985 Yoshisaburo Toyizumi began to invite for co-projects in Japan such musicians as Misha Mengelberg, Leo Smith, Derek Bailey, Joseph Jarman, and Marco Eneidi. Together with EXIAS-J Yoshisaburo Toyizumi performs from 2003.

© Jūratė Kučinskaitė

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