Loving You George (LP)
The George Otsuka Quintet
Wewantsounds is delighted to announce the reissue of cult LP by master Japanese drummer George Otsuka and his quintet, recorded live on 19th July 1975 at the Nemu Jazz Inn. The album was released by cutting-edge Japanese label Bellwood, which had recently made waves with Haruomi Hosono's landmark "Hosono House". The album "Loving You George" is comprised of four superb performances fuelled by Otsuka powerful drumming and Fumio Karashima's fender Rhodes. It also includes a wonderfully funky take on Minnie Riperton's 'Loving You'. It's the first time the album is reissued since the 70s and it comes with original artwork featuring OBI strip and audio remastered from the master tapes by King Records in Japan.
George Otsuka is one of the giants of the Nippon jazz scene. The drummer, who sadly passed away in 2020, enjoyed a 50 year career recording with the best musicians and labels in Japan. Born Keiji Otsuka in 1937 in Tokyo, Otsuka joined Sadao Watanabe's Cosy Quartet in the late fifties before switching to Hidehiko Matsumoto's quartet where he gained exposure as one of Japan's premier drummers. In the mid 60s, he formed his own trio with Hideo Ichikawa (p) and Masaoki Terakawa (b) recording several highly-acclaimed albums and also playing with international stars such as Hampton Hawes and Roy Haynes.
The 70s were a productive decade and Otsuka embraced the latest development in jazz including fusion and modal jazz enthusiastically. Having recorded for Trio, Three Blind Mice and Nippon Columbia, the musician signed with Koki Miura's groundbreaking Bellwood Records (responsible for producing the emergent wave of folk rock artists led by Happy End and Haruomi Hosono) and recorded a live album at Nemu Jazz Inn in the Nemu resort, south of Nagoya. The evening was a special one. On top of The George Otsuka quintet (featuring Mitsuaki Furuno (b), Norio Ohno (perc), Shozo Sasaki (sax) and Fumio Karashima (p)), were the supergroup of Norman Connors, Eddie Henderson and Gary Bartz who were also recording a live album, “Dance Of Magic” that has since become legendary.
On the night, Otsuka and his sidemen recorded four tracks including "Little Island" a Karashima original and "Something Everywhere" a faithful rendition of Steve Kuhn brazilian-flavoured original which had just appeared on his ECM album "Trance". Showcased on this version are Karashima's superb Fender Rhodes playing and Sasaki's inspired soprano sax. Side 2 begins with a breathtaking version of the Coltrane standard "Miles Mode" finishing with a great drum solo by Otsuka followed by a superb version of the Minnie Riperton classic, "Loving You" played in a mid-tempo funky mode with a great Rhodes solo.
A unique time capsule, the album finds the quintet on fire and "Loving You George" is a vivid testimony that Otsuka and his musicians were at the top of their game and one of the best groups in Japan, playing a mix of modal and groovy tunes full of exciting and inspired solos. An album known to the Japanese music lovers that Wewantsounds is happy to reissue for the first time in decades with original artwork, OBI strip and audio remastered from the original tapes by King Records in Japan.
A1. Little Island
A2. Something Everywhere
B1. Miles Mode
B2. Loving You