Press and Reviews

Takatsuki Trio Quartett with Tobias Delius and Axel Dörner, Berliner Quartette (Orbit577) It took me a while (read: too long) to appropriately soak up the Takatsuki Trio Quartett’s 2020 CD Live in Hessen, but once I did, I was exposed to a free improvisational stunner. And so, when this release on 577’s (largely) digital-only subsidiary was announced, hesitate I did not. Briefly, the core trio of Rieko Okuda (piano, voice), Antti Virtaranta (bass), and Joshua Weitzel (guitar, shamisen) regularly expand to a four-piece, for this release welcoming Dörner on trumpet and Delius on tenor sax and clarinet, both German improvisors, with the performances held in the Kühlspot Social Club in Berlin, hence the Berliner Quartette. The piece with Dörner breaks 31 minutes, but the spaciousness never meanders, partly due to the trumpeter’s mastery (lovers of extended techniques will delight) but also because the core trio is in superb form. The piece with Delius is less than half as long, but it bursts forth with the energy of a throwdown from the early days of the NYC lofts, but with a few calmer stretches as well. A
Joseph Neff, Vinyl District

Takatsuki Trio Quartett, Live in Hessen (Creative Sources Recordings) This compact disc came to me early in 2021, but like so many things, and frequently, CDs received in the mail, it got lost in the ever mounting and shifting shuffle-stacks, but thankfully only temporarily, because the two long pieces that comprise this release, each featuring a core trio augmented with an additional player, are tremendous and wholly recommended for fans of free improvisation. The trio consists of Rieko Okunda on piano, viola, and voice, Antti Virtaranta on double bass, and Joshua Weitzel on guitar and shamisen (a three-stringed trad Japanese instrument).

For “Kassel,” the three are joined by tenor saxophonist Matthias Schubert, and while much of the 28-minute track’s progression is reminiscent of euro free improv, there is some avant-jazz-like action, including an early stretch of lamentation that suggests late ‘60s NYC. Schubert also blows hot near track’s end, but the instrumental makeup, and foremost, the playing, resists easy comparisons. For “Wiesbaden,” Dirk Marwedel joins the trio on extended saxophone, with delightfully exploratory results. It’s important to note that extended doesn’t necessarily equate to extreme, as the group are far more devoted to tension and attentive to space. Even though these are live recordings, some level of post-production seems to have been involved, which might be where the sound of water derives. It ends Live in Hessen on an intriguing note. A-

Joseph Neff, the Vinyl District. 09.09.2021

Review in Jazztokyo, August 2020:
Link:

HNA 23.05.2019

From KulturMagazin Kassel, October 2018.

HNA, October 23, 2018.

Concerts

(...) magically wundersome improvisations, sometimes with fragile, sometimes with dense sounds, partly sitting on the floor legs crossed. Due to their capabilities to concentrate, the Performance was indeed strong.

 (Georg Pepl, orig. in German, HNA 2016)

 

„Einige schließen die Augen und lassen die Musik in ihrer Vorstellung Bilder malen. Weitzels E-Gitarre etwa wird da mal zu digitalen Fußtapsen, dann zum alten Röhrenradio auf der Suche nach einem klar klingenden Sender, der sich lange hinter dem Rauschen des Saxophons von Duettpartner Schubert versteckt. Speziell, außergewöhnlich und auf ganz besondere Weise faszinierend (Sascha Hoffmann, HNA, 2016)“.

 

"Weitzel brillierte mit einer abwechslungsreichen Soundcollage (Andreas Köthe, HNA 2015).

 

Concert review by Akira Saito (in Japanese) for the concert of Contemporary Shamisen Duo feat. Tanaka Yumiko in Tokyo, July 2018. --- Link

Concert review by Akira Saito (in Japanese) for the concert of Takashi Masubuchi, Ryota Saito and Joshua Weitzel Tokyo, July 2018. --- Link

Hessisch Niedersächsische Allgemeine, 28.06.2018

Concert review by Akira Saito (in Japanese) for the concert of Nicola Hein, Toshimaru Nakamura and Joshua Weitzel Tokyo, July 2017. --- Link

Concert review by Akira Saito (in Japanese) for the concert of Alfred Harth, Takeshita Yuma, Nicola Hein and Joshua Weitzel  in Tokyo, July 2017. --- Link

Releases

CD Review by Akira Saito (In Japanese) for "Genpatsuryoku" --- Link

CD Review by Akira Saito (In Japanese) for "#Fluteshamisen" --- Link

CD Review of Genpatsuryoku, Vital Weekly 2018: 
Contemporary Shamisen Duo are Joshua Weitzel and Ryota Saito. Weitzel is a guitarist and shamisen
player from Kassel, Germany. Ryota Saito is a Tokyo-Based Kouta-Shamisen master. Both met in Berlin in
2013 and started to work together. Their collaboration has them both playing the traditional Japanese
instrument shamisen, a three-string instrument dating from the 16th century. But not only playing it in a
traditional way. They try to expand possibilities using preparations and extended playing techniques.
‘Genpatsuryoku’ contains parts from sessions they did in Osaka and Kyoto in 2016 and 2017 and this a
valuable documentation of their project. In their duets often one plays by pulling the strings. This gives
one an idea of the traditional sound of this instrument. The other one treats the instrument with diverse
applications in order to generate new sounds aspects from this instrument. Their improvisations are a very
subtle and breakable character. There strong moments where they really had my attention. But overall their
abstract duets are not very prolific to keep me in the listening mode. (DM)

Review von Rigobert Dittmann zu #Fluteshamisen, Bad Alchemy 97
ULRIKE LENTZ - JOSHUA WEITZEL #Fluteshamisen (Factor Vac, FV01): Neben dem Mbira-Koto-Flirt von Richard Crandell & Masumi Timson ist das die gewagtere An­eignung einer 'Fremdsprache' als ureigenste. Weitzel erweist sich mit seiner Chuzao Shamisen als Umtriebler zwischen Kassels Lolita Bar, Kyoto und dem Cafe Oto, mit dem International Central German Noise Ensemble oder dem ResiDance Orchester kon­trastreich vor Ort, mit Chie Nagai, Eric Petzoldt, Ove Volquartz, Ken Ikeda hier und da, mit Alfred 23 Harth und Nicola Hein im Juli 2017 in Tokyo. Lentz ist eine Windsbraut und querflötende Botschafterin des Deep Listening, im Trio mit Michael Vorfeld & Reinhart Hammerschmidt, im Duo mit Robert Dick oder der Akkordeonistin Anja Kreysing. Der träumerisch gesuchte Einklang mit Weitzels tremolierendem Flirren und sprödem Geschrappe ist deep, allerdings auf beunruhigende Weise. Auf den schmalen Wegen in den tiefen Osten findet die züngelnde, trillernde, pfeifende Intuition hinter geschlos­senen Lidern ebenso zielsicher ihre Beute wie die an Draht schabenden, pickenden und prickelnden Finger, die der Stille klitzekleine und oft genug krumme Würmchen aus der Nase ziehen. Plink, plink, plink, plonk, ploink, und doch klingt das seltsam beredt und auch farblich schön angeschrägt. In tremolierenden Kurven, mit ostinater Insistenz, pickender Sturheit, zuerst und öfters aber auch nur sirrend wie mit zirpend reibendem Stäbchen. Dazu faucht Lentz durch die Zähne, presst Luft durch eine verstopfte Röhre, sie mundbrütet Altoschatten, glissandiert windschief, spaltet piccolo in piccolissimo, wischelt kleinlaut zu Pingpongpercussion. Beide so japanisch als würden sie auf die 'schwarzen Schiffe' pfeifen, so japanisch wie Gruselgeschichten (kaidan) und mit ebenso eiskaltem Thrill. Denkt an 'Yoshiwara Kaidan' auf "Ganryu Island". Seit John Zorn 1984 Michihiro Sato begegnete, ist die Shamisen der Samuraidutt unter den Instrumenten.