The more music I listen to and discover, the more naïve I feel as I wouldn't have associated Jazz music with the Japanese music scene, but SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS prove just how spectacular the Japanese Jazz (J-Jazz) scene can be and it excites me to look more into this genre.
SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS play pure Jazz with a touch of Bebop, Bossa Nova, and Punk Jazz. Combine these elements together and you have a sound that the band refers to as Death Jazz. I can see it now, Jazz purists frantically trying to close this window, but by doing so you'd deny yourself of some of the most musically compelling Jazz music l’ve ever had the privilege of hearing. Yes, SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS are that good!
Formed in 2001, SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS have been rather prolific, releasing 13 studio albums and a live album. This review, however, is based on their compilation album “X” Chronicle Of Soil & “Pimp” Sessions. The artwork is exquisite in its simplicity, demanding a larger canvas, but sadly a vinyl release has yet to be produced with only a CD release and associated digital download and streaming availability.
Speaking of streaming, the impact and glorious soundstage that is present, in the original master recordings, sound magnificent when streamed via TIDAL Hi-Fi. Yes, I want a vinyl copy, but the CD-quality FLAC from TIDAL is flawless.
First Lady has an interesting intro. I can't place that particular instrument, if anyone knows what it is, could you please let me know. Nevertheless, First Lady quickly establishes itself as a Bossa Nova-styled Jazz track. It is so good that I want to get up and play Quincy Jones' Big Band Bossa Nova as I consider them to be peers. An exceptional song and a superb way to commence the “X” Chronicle Of Soil & “Pimp” Sessions compilation.
Mature continues the bossa nova feel with some exceptional musicality. While the lyrical content, in Japanese of course, may deter some listeners, it would be a mistake to skip this track as it offers a fresh interpretation of the Jazz sound. That bass is played beautifully, as are all other instruments. It’s simply gorgeous! These are some truly talented Jazz musicians that are easily amongst the best in the world.
Suffocation is more freestyle than the previous tracks but one could imagine how the band could change this song up every time they perform it live. It certainly has the improvisation cues that would make for a killer jam session.
Waltz For Goddess slows the album a little but remains jazzy. A sensational track!
No Taboo is a little more frantic than I like my Jazz to be. It isn't a bad song per se, it just isn't in the style that I subjectively prefer.
Crush! is a jazzy song. The Death Jazz element may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I like it as it fits the style of song and doesn’t feel out of place. Plus, I love that piano/sax solo that is positioned at the midpoint of the song. Crush! is an absolutely fantastic composition.
Summer Goddess has similar sonic cues to Waltz For Goddess and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can feel a little repetitive. Nevertheless, as the song progresses, it comes into its own and is a killer Jazz track.
Sahara is a little too free-flowing for my liking. While the song is perfectly adequate and will likely appeal to many people, I find it difficult for my mind to latch onto the rhythm until about midway through the song. That said, cut out the first couple of minutes and the rest of the song is superb.
A.I.E is a brass-driven mid-paced song that I particularly like. The rhythm is addictive and highlights each instrument beautifully. An absolutely gorgeous recording.
マシロケ has a great beat and those hi-hat taps are intoxicating. Actually, every element in this composition is captivating.
Storm is a solid track, but I consider it filler. A B-side at best.
Fantastic Planet is a lovely song. Frantic in places, but that piano element mid-song is pure class. I love it!
Paraiso is a song that I could play on repeat for hours at a time. It’s a solid Jazz number, nothing spectacular, but has just what this Jazz listener is looking for.
My Foolish Heart - Crazy On Earth reminds me of some 1940s big band numbers. As a fan of the Glenn Miller big band style, I love it. The vocalist has an amazingly unique voice with a touch of Amy Winehouse. Sensational!
Pop Korn is a great song with an upbeat melody. This will get you dancing.
Sexual Hungry is too obscure for my liking. As a song on its own, it's tolerable, but it simply doesn't fit well in the tracking of this compilation. Hence, if I were making the decision, I would have left this song off this particular release.
Movin' (feat. Maia Hirasawa) is a solid vocal Jazz track. Nothing to write home about, but a solid B-side nevertheless.
Are You Ready? is another B-side. It sadly doesn't compel me to listen to the compilation again, but thankfully I know just how good the rest of the songs are, so you can be guaranteed this compilation will be frequently played.
Overall, “X” Chronicle Of Soil & “Pimp” Sessions is a sensational Jazz-based album that will appeal to purists as well as those looking for a little more interplay and improvisation. While I rarely attend live performances, SOIL & “PIMP” SESSIONS is one band I would love to see perform live. If the energy and passion present in their studio recordings are even remotely present in their live performance, it would be a memorable evening.