Ballad of Cloudy Bongwater (& Other Songs)
The combination of Huw Lloyd (clarinet), Hideaki Aokki (saxophones), Takashi Igarashi (guitar) and Masako Otsuka (bass) has been performing around Tokyo since the beginning of 2006 and is perfecting it's unique atmospheric sound. Jazz influences include John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk and Steve Lacy, but the Billy Spangles Group also uses elements of Pop, Latin, Japanese and Western classical music. It's something of a tradition in jazz to write songs inspired by and dedicated to important people in one's life. This CD is a contribution by Billy Spangles Group to this tradition, we sincerely hope you come to enjoy - or at least appreciate - the character of each song on the album. 1. "The Ballad of Cloudy Bongwater" vacillates - much like Tokyo comedian Cloudy himself - between the heroic and the comedic, with varying degrees of success. 2. "Lou's Shoes' Blues" is for Louis Deandrade, master jazz drummer and English teacher, something of a sempai. He works so hard, even his shoes got the blues. 3. "Kota!" (the exclamation mark can be read as either frustration or desperation) is for a good friend who lives too far away. One of the ideas in this song was stolen from genius bassist and composer Charles Mingus. 4. "Apology" (also known as "You Only Hurt the Ones You Love") is exactly that. Sometimes all you can do is say sorry...and even that doesn't help! 5. "Evening with William" is a description of a very hazy evening spent with a friend from New York. The Group's improvisation here is in a New Orleans style, perfect for capturing this kind of mood. 6. "Waltz for Charlie Parker" is not for the famous saxophonist but a baby who shares his name. The melody aims to capture the wonder and lack of self-consciousness that all young children share. 7. A radio show called "More Betterer Japanese", encouraging expatriates to communicate with their Japanese hosts in a humorous way, was under production by friend and performer Malcolm Shean. This is the theme music, a bossa nova, the last three notes telling us "That's the end..." - and it is!