Leeward, released in 1978 on Union record, is the second album by tenor and soprano saxophonist Mabumi Yamaguchi. Here the quartet comprises of Ikuo Sakurai on bass, Hideo Sekine on drums and Ichiro Doi on piano and electric piano. Leeward opens with “Dawn” a long and slow piece led by a Fender Rhodes played in flanger mode, on which Mabumi Yamaguchi expresses a certain melancholy, which we also find on “Dewdrop”, a duet piece with Ichiro Doi at the piano. The rhythm picks up on “Distant thunder”, a kind of jazz-funk samba in which Mabumi Yamaguchi lets each of his musicians take a long chorus before ending by taking up the haunting theme of this superb piece. The beautiful “Leeward” closes the album in a slightly more traditional but equally mastered style. It is not known if the cover of this album contributed to its lack of success when it was released, but it is almost impossible today to find an original pressing of this record. It should be noted that Mabumi Yamaguchi is still active and that he continues to release records and perform in concert in Tokyo (dates to be found on his website mabumi.com).
- Distant Thunder