JOHN KAIZAN NEPTUNE
John Kaizan Neptune brings to the shakuhachi (bamboo flute) a new and dynamic sound and feeling entirely his own. A California-born American, Neptune received his master’s certificate in the Tozan School of Shakuhachi in 1977, at which time he was awarded the name “Kaizan” (“Sea Mountain”). He is the author of the book SHAKUHACHI, and has performed and recorded in many countries around the world. His second album, BAMBOO, was named Outstanding Record of the Year by the Cultural Affairs Agency of the Japanese Ministry of Education; subsequent albums (23 to date) and his concerts throughout Japan, Asia, Australia, America, and Europe have made his original music, from traditional Japanese to contemporary jazz, widely know and loved by people of all ages. Neptune, who is acknowledged to be among the top masters of the instrument in Japan, now lives in Kamogawa, Chiba-ken, where he continues to make, write for and experiment with the instrument he had adopted as his own.
NOTES BY NEPTUNE:
Traditional Japanese shakuhachi music is a “way of blowing Zen.” It is characterized by a free-flowing, non-rhythmic texture. However, I used to play drums and have always been fascinated by rhythm and percussion from around the world. It has been a dream for many years to feature two of the world’s great master percussionists on a recording project: Karaikudi R. Mani, from India on mirdangam, and Lewis Pragasam, from Malaysia on drum set.
There are so many interesting ways to divide time in a musical context and we use words to describe different aspects of the organization: groove, meter, density, gap, calculation, double/triple time, swing, alap, tihai, etc. No matter how you describe it, I hope the listener will fine as much surprise and joy in these “steps in time” as we had in making them.
John Kaizan Neptune – shakuhachi, morsing
Karaikudi R. Mani – mirdangam, konnakol
Lewis Pragasam – drums
V.S. Narasimhan – violin
Takao Naoi – guitar
Andy Peterson - bass
Neptune in Review
“John Kaizan Neptune has expanded the possibilities of the Japanese shakuhachi flute to embrace the realms of jazz and fusion. At the same time, through many long years of training in the classical repertoire of the instrument, he has become one of the most outstanding exponents of the shakuhachi currently active in Japan. He is joined by musicians who together create music that transcends national boundaries and the origins of their instruments. It is surely music such as this which deserves the label of “World Music” and which is likely to serve as a steppingstone towards music of the future.” – Akira Ebato, University Ethnomusicologist
“At times Neptune and the rhythm section sounded as much Latin or Afro-Cuban as American or Asian. The walls are crumbling, and if results of this caliber can be achieved, we may as well stop worrying about categories.”
After hearing a live performance in LA – Leonard Feather, Jazz Critic