Adulated in his native Japan, drummer Hideo Shiraki led the most famous Japanese jazz group of the early 60’s. His combining jazz and traditional Japanese music brought him an invitation to the 1965 Berlin Jazz Festival and a record date. Three women playing Koto, the traditional Japanese stringed instrument, accompanied the quintet. The results: world music that works. Known in the West as ‘the Cherry Blossom Song’, the traditional Sakura Sakura finds Shiraki employing mallets, fingers, brushes, and sticks in combination with the Kyoto players as jazz and tradition blend. Yosakoi Bushi means ‘better come at night to make love’. There’s a feel of bluesy early Coltrane in the relaxed swing and soprano solo. Yamanaka Bushi is a song from the Yamanaka Onsen, or hot springs. The quintet bathes in the song’s heat, as a young Terumasa Hino displays why he’s a world-renowned trumpeter. Matsuri No Genzo conjures the images of a rural temple feast. After a haunting Koto refrain, everyone has a taste, and Shiraki’s play makes sure there are no leftovers. Hino takes the melody and solos exquisitely on his ballad Alone, Alone And Alone. Suwa is another Hino piece. The Koto takes on an almost Avant-garde role here, with an electronic-sounding accompaniment to the muted trumpet melody. An amazing coalescence of the serene traditional music of Japan and the youthful vitality of jazz.