From Japan to the World's crossover music scene, come artists continually striving to reach 'the next level'. Genre-free sax player Señor Suzuki's unit, Jet Set Productions' 2nd album is a truly unique freestyle session based on the essence of jazz and a rich breakbeat texture, an exceptional album that announces to like-minded people all over the world that another border-crossing Japanese artist to be respected has stepped out onto the stage.
Jet Set Productions is the solo project of Señor Suzuki of Shizuoka, the prefectural home of Mt Fuji, 1hr South of Tokyo by bullet train,famed for it's beautiful seaside location and nature. His music began as the vocal/sax in ska band 'Mustang A.K.A' Making their major debut in 1990, their sound slowly morphed into electric dub under the influence of names such as Masssive Attack and Beats International, then in 1995 he started producing his own tracks as well as continuing as sax player for live band 'Reggae Disco Rockers' before being completely sucked into drum'n'bass on first listen in 1996, and even when playing live, it's still the live drum'n'bass 'session' which forms the basis for Jet Set Productions. He joined Japanese d'n'b label Static for the first 2 releases in their 'Magnetic Storm' compilation series before releasing his first album, 'Almond Eyed Man' in 1999, featuring guests such as Japan's leading female reggae vocal, Likkle Mai, as well as many other live players, skillfully combining programmed beats with live playing. This was followed by the deployment of a series of live d'n'b performances, and he began remixing various artists such as
Flower Records' Jazztronic-produced female singer Tiara, hardcore band Lovegla (Knocker's Records) and Brazilian artist Almir Carvalho (produced by Kazuo Yoshida -Rip Curl Recordings) under the pseudonym of 'Canaria', ever-widening his musical
horizons.That's a potted history of Jet Set Productions until now, 2 years later, comes the release of 'Bitter Sweet'.
Following on from 'Almond Eyed Man', guests such as Likkle Mai
on vocal, and sax/flute player Nishiuchi Tetsu, having played an active part in various reggae bands,show up again. Compared with the cool, hard edge of 'Almond Eyed man', 'Bitter Sweet' is such a transformation as to seem to be from a different artist
altogether.There are no 'pure' drum'n'bass tracks, but instead everything from deep house, live jazzy breaks, Afro-latin crossover tracks, rich, stringy vocal jazz, abstract dub and Afro-bossa-edged dubby reggae, every track presenting a different world, uniting and mixing many styles,yet without confusing them. At the same time, this proves Jet Set Productions' commitment to music and in addition, the presence of UK trio Taxi's Jo Laundy on vocals for 2 of the tracks adds an unmissable flavour to the album.
A mini-album of Taxi's tracks was licensed and released in Japan by Nebula/Inpartmaint from Germany's Infracom, and while being remarkable artists in their own right, it's Jo's vocal technique that particularly stands out. Incidentally, as a result of this collaboration, Taxi's next release, again on Infracom, will feature a Jet Set Productions remix.
To find out for youself just how good all of this is, have a dig around in a few of the tracks......
Ultimately,this album's something I'd love to see live, and this is
something Señor Suzuki probably already has in mind. The high level of musicianship, 'rich' playing and vocal performance would become, without a doubt, even better live....and should they call up Taxi to join them for that....well, that would surely be too much wouldn't it?
Written by Mitsuru Ogawa ( Dance Music Record / Tokyo ) December 2000