*2023 stock* Alto sax/clarinet player Akira Sakata is a legend of Japan’s free jazz scene. Ken Ikeda is a musician who resided for many years in New York and London, and has been based in Tokyo since his return to Japan from the UK in 2020. In 2021, Ikeda released "Signal and Signaless," a duo CD with Rie Nakajima, on the Ftarri label. This album, "Gauche," is Sakata’s first release from Ftarri.
On May 21, 2022, Akira Sakata and Ken Ikeda gave a duo concert at Ftarri, Tokyo. This CD consists of two improvised performances (29 and 36 minutes long) from that concert. Sakata played alto sax, clarinet and several types of bells, while Ikeda played synthesizer. When people think of Akira Sakata, they usually think of the kind of extremely powerful, ferocious performances he gave many years ago with the Yosuke Yamashita trio—but on this album we hear a different Sakata. Perhaps influenced in part by Ikeda, whose distinctive electronic sound features smooth and supple timbres, Sakata’s winds playing throughout is calm and composed—the epitome of self-possession. Partway through, he rings bells in silent spaces, adding further to the broadminded mood. This superb album was born of the auspicious combination of these two musicians’ distinctive musical styles.