36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022


Hikashu (Japan):

Koichi Makigami - vocal, theremin, cornet
Mita Freeman - guitar
Masami Sakaide - bass
Kazuto Shimizu - piano, bass-clarinet
Masaharu Sato - drums

Hikashu, one of the leading Japanese groups, has kept intriguing the world with its spontaneous experiments and out-of-format improvisations for more than three decades.

The group was established by professional actors Makigami Koichi and Mita Freeman, who have stayed together since the study years. They both got fascinated with music when working on their theatre production and instead of forming theatre company they decided to turn to rock – in the beginning Hikashu was ascribed to this genre.

Their first single At the End of the 20 Century brought great recognition around Japan. After bassist Sakaide Masami joined the group the musicians got even freer. Makigami Koichi, Mita Freeman and Sakaide Masami have appeared in Vilnius Jazz 2002.

A year later boosted by experienced improvisers Shimizu Kazuto and Sato Masaharu, Hikashu’s experiments became even more daring – Ten-Ten (2005) was dominated by improvised music.

Recently, Hikashu has been often appearing on jazz scene; regularly participating in Yokohama Jazz Promenade and Jazz Art Sengawa jazz festivals.

Hikashu is the main creative laboratory of Makigami Koichi, one of the most original Japanese vocalists and multi-instrumentalists. His improvisations include elements of rock, avant-garde and Japanese music. He is one of the most representative Japanese performers of Tuvan throat singing, mesmerising audiences with the diapason and expressiveness of his vocal.

Makigami Koichi has collaborated with a number of artists and musicians such as Derek Bailey, Ikue Mori, Lawren Newton, Fred Frith, Phil Minton, David Moss, Tom Cora, Takahashi Yuji, Otomo Yoshihide, Anthony Coleman, Umezu Kazutoki and Carl Stone.

He also initiates solo projects featuring interactive computer technologies, vocal improvisations, theatre and performance elements as well as ancient Japanese popular music based on avant-pop.

Makigami Koichi’s solo album Koroshi No Blues (1992) was produced and released on Tzadik label by John Zorn, the celebrated advocate of avant-garde. Since 1993, Makigami Koichi has organised John Zorn improvisation sessions COBRA in Tokyo.

Also, he is a co-producer and a main curator of an avant-garde jazz festival Jazz Art Sengawa in Tokyo.

Guitarist, composer and record produced Mita Freeman is the other front man of Hikashu, along with Makigami Koichi. His own group, called Lu Inchi, was formed in 1977 and continues to this day.

Bassist Sakaide Masami has worked with Hikashu since 1982, and hasn’t left the group even after moving to Germany in the 80s. Now residing in Tokyo, he has been active as a composer and sound designer for TV and theatre.

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Shimizu Kazuto is at home in progressive rock, pop, jazz and improvised music. Sought after musician leads his own groups Arepos and Precambrian Clarinet Quartet.

Percussionist, composer and vocalist Sato Masaharu made his debut as a drummer in progressive rock group Bi Kyo Ran in his teens. In 2002, he released his debut solo album Tappi in France. Currently, beside various projects he works with his own groups Massa, Bokura No Shizen No Bouken and Kuro Yagi Shiro Yagi.

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