When I first heard the trio play a live set a few months ago at Shea Stadium, I was completely blown away. With Hexbreaker Quintet headlining, I was expecting a night of low-key, mellow drone, but everybody in this trio was furious. Jeffrey Shurdut's guitar squealed with high-pitched feedback, matched with wild soloing at the top of the neck. It was a perfect analogy to the high, nasal tones of Tamio Shiraishi's saxophone. I was just staring at Shiraishi like he was a golden god, dressed completely in white and occasionally bending over to shout raspy Japanese phrases into the mic. Brian Osborne's drumming filled out the sound of the other two and placed the band solidly into the free jazz realm.
Although this is a new trio with no previous recorded material, all three players are veterans. Tamio Shiraishi relocated to NYC from Japan several years ago after having collaborated with many of Japan's best improvisers (check out this video of him with Keiji, Otomo and Tori). Brian Osborne and Jeffrey Shurdut have already collaborated together in their band George Steeltoe Ensemble, with a few records out on Osborne's own imprint, Heat Retention records.
What was incredible about the live set the trio gave on my radio show a few weeks back was how much more dynamic depth the band was able to achieve. This set is more meditative than I expected, dwelling at times in near silence (for a few moments, the only sounds heard are the squeaks from a chair that Shurdut asked the engineer Bill Bowen to mic). Though Shiraishi dwells entirely in the high regions of the reed, an effect produced by biting the reed, his characteristic sound reveals itself anew in the varied contexts of Osborne's and Shurdut's meanderings.