Finding a home on the London-based Albert’s Favourites label, the Ronin Arkestra is a Tokyo-centered collective that brings together some of Japan’s most progressive jazz and electronic musicians. With Mark de Clive Lowe taking on a compositional role, the songs that make up this four track EP resonate as expansive jazz sketches infused with a spiritual dimension. Case in point: The project closes with a take of John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”
Back on original territory, the 12 minute opener, “Stranger Searching,” showcases the bewitching Ronin Arkestra blend. Underscored by a foundation of gently shuffling drums, the track transforms through increasingly intense stages that bring to the fore the consummate playing of horn players Kohei Ando, Wataru Hamasaki and Shine Ruike. Fueled by Hikaru Arata’s soulful drum patterns, the project’s standout cut, “Redeye Reprisal,” blends together soothing keys with frantic brass to take shape as a punchy, five minute firebrand jazz workout.
Ronin Arkestra, First Meeting (Albert’s Favourites)