toshinori kondo



Bellows 001

Toshinori Kondo / trumpet, alto horn (and mutes). Recorded: March 15, 16, & 25, and May 24, 1979.

Kondo has recorded previously with Milford Graves, Derek Bailey, Henry Kaiser, and with a Japanese group that he co-led, Evolution Ensemble Unity, but this is his most impressive recording yet. His playing, however, would seem to owe more to the work of certain trombonists – Paul Rutherford comes to mind – than to other trumpet players. His almost sole connection to the trumpet tradition (in jazz) is that he too, like Armstrong and all of the best players after him, makes use of any number of unorthodox blowing and breathing techniques to advance his aesthetic conception.


It’s one that delves almost exclusively into sound, sounds, timbre, and rhythm, working quickly across a wide range of personally evolved technical options, generally implying rather than drawing out their possibilities, and breaking much new ground in the process. His is mainly a rhythmic conception, then, held together by its own inner pulsations, stops, tensions, unexpected barrages and releases. Its importance has to do with the technical advances that are part and parcel of that conception, making this the most richly suggestive recording of its kind in quite some time – maybe even since Lester Bowie’s “Jazz Death?” (Roscoe Mitchell, Congliptious, Nessa-2).

Henry Kuntz, 1979


Toshinori Kondo biography:

Toshinori Kondo (December 15, 1948 in Ehime Prefecture) is an avant-garde jazz and jazz fusion trumpeter. He has lived in Japan, New York City, and Amsterdam. In college he was a member of the band “Funky Beaters” and by 1976 he was a member of an ensemble which gained some notice in his native Japan. His early influences were Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis. That said, his style is quite distinct from theirs and influenced by his religious studies, among other things.

In the mid-1970s his career gained new momentum on moving to NYC, where he worked with members of the ‘Downtown’ scene, including Bill Laswell and John Zorn; his first solo album coming out in 1979. Later he returned to Japan and after that moved to the Netherlands where he lives today. He has kept a comparatively low profile in the Netherlands and has little to no connections to the Dutch jazz scene. In 2002 he worked on an international peace festival in Hiroshima after being approached by the Dalai Lama about organizing one. He has also done musical, and possibly acting, work for Japanese crime films.

He is currently known for Free jazz and electronica music. In these, or related, capacities he has worked with DJ Krush and Tom Cora. He is also known for being avant-garde and was a former member of Praxis.


selected Toshinori Kondo recordings:


Toshinori Kondo’s web page is here…

2 Responses to “toshinori kondo”

  1. Lots of current photos of Kondo Toshinori in action at this website.

  2. Just want to make sure you know that Kondo has died
    Sad news indeed.
    He will be missed and so will his music.
    Best Regards
    Rory Merry

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