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Brian Tairaku Ritchie | Ryoanji

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Avant Garde: Modern Composition New Age: Ethnic Fusion Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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by Brian Tairaku Ritchie

Zen Jazz Improvisation Shakuhachi Bamboo Flute Acoustic Meditation Gongs Japanese World Music
Genre: Avant Garde: Modern Composition
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Kiso Bushi
3:35 $0.99
2. Sankara Sugagaki
3:49 $0.99
3. Etenraku
6:43 $0.99
4. Eko
5:17 $0.99
5. Ryoanji
14:17 $0.99
6. Soran Bushi
3:53 $0.99
7. Komoriuta
4:42 $0.99
8. Blues For Aida
5:11 $0.99
9. Kojo No Tsuki
6:15 $0.99
10. Tamuke
5:17 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Brian Ritchie came to prominence in the field of music in 1982 with his band Violent Femmes. Brian started the band to explore the possibilities of acoustic instrumentation playing rock, jazz, blues, country and folk music with a strong improvisational element. The Femmes have played more than 2000 concerts in over 30 different countries around the world. Some highlights include sold out performances at Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, three hundred thousand people at Woodstock ’94 and the northernmost rock concert in history at the magnetic north pole. They have numerous gold and platinum records. Brian’s main instrument in the band is acoustic bass, but as an insatiable multi-instrumentalist he has performed or recorded on over 40 instruments.

Brian started playing the Shakuhachi (Japanese Bamboo Flute) in 1996 as part of his never-ending search for new musical challenges. He was also attracted to the instrument because of his Buddhist background. Brian studied in New York City with James Nyoraku Schlefer for seven years, which culminated in receiving a Jun Shihan teaching license in March 2003. He received his professional name “Tairaku” from Schlefer, Yoshio Kurahashi and Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin. Brian played only the traditional Jin Nyodo repertoire up to this point, but after receiving his license started to investigate the possibilities of shakuhachi in jazz, rock and world music. To this end he started a series of bands and recordings with the Shakuhachi Club. There are four Shakuhachi Clubs at this point, New York City, Milwaukee, Reykjavik, and San Francisco. “Brian Ritchie: Shakuhachi Club NYC” was released by Weed Records in 2004 to critical acclaim and strong sales. Tairaku also has a honkyoku CD “Purple Field”. Another, Shakuhachi Club Milwaukee CD “Ryoanji” has been released in 2006. It features Japanese music from the 6th to the 21st centuries combined with improvisation.

In addition to his international activities as a shakuhachi performer, Tairaku teaches at his Tairaku An dojo in Milwaukee and is one of the administrators for the World Shakuhachi Forum at www.shakuhachiforum.com. He was jazz/improvisation instructor at the 2006 European Shakuhachi Summer School at School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.



to write a review

matthias Jackisch

This is music like you can touch it.


This is a hauntingly beautiful album that touches on a range of emotions... it's good for the soul.


The sound is magical. I have had to listen to it in bits because the sound is too deep to absorb all at once. Beautiful music for sure. I highly recommend the Brian Tairaku Ritchie: Ryoanji CD. Kudos to Tairaku and friends...

Daniel Ryudo

seamless whole, earthy shakuhachi soundscape, positively rocking, practically su
Brian Ritchie's new album Ryoanji encompasses traditional Japanese pieces from a thousand years ago to the present and even spins into 60s jazz and modern music while remarkably managing to present a seamless whole. The pieces meld together well, from ethereal gagaku -- ancient Japanese court music -- in the piece Etenraku, though honkyoku, or wandering Zen monk pieces and Japanese folk songs up through Steve Lacy's Blues for Aida, and modern music, the latter represented by John Cage's composition Ryoanji, based on Cage's measurements of the patterns in the famous Zen rock garden of the same name in Kyoto, Japan. Ritchie weaves an earthy shakuhachi soundscape with his jinashi bamboo flutes supplemented with tympani, upright bass, gongs, woodblocks, and other Asian percussion. The album opens with a folk piece called Kiso Bushi, starting off with a rollicking bass and drum beat, and soon Ritchie spins from basic melody into the kind of improvization that he does so well. Apparently John Cage wrote the title piece Ryoanji with the shakuhachi in mind, and in Ritchie's version, the garden of sounds is at times even a bit ominous, somewhat reminescent of King Crimson's "Red" days with one's consciousness of time's passage heightened by the ma or space between the isolated percussive beats. The folk piece which follows, Soran Bushi, gets positively rocking with its rhythmic bass line and funky shakuhachi and bass soloing. Komoriuta, a lullaby by Japanese romanticist composer Fukuda Rando, builds up atmospherically with gongs and cymbals and had me visiting scenes from Kurosawa's classic swordplay flick The Seven Samurai in my mind. Kojo No Tsuki, or castle in moonlight, a popular standby in Japan, was cast in a much darker mood than is usual, practically supernatural, with its bow played bass, wailing bamboo flute, and percussion like the clanking of ghostly chains. The cd ends with a rich and meditative Tamuke, a requiem piece played on a longer, large bore flute. Brian "Tairaku" Ritchie, already well known for his skills with the bass guitar, clearly demonstrates his technical virtuosity and jazz chops on the bamboo flute while managing to retain the unique tonal characteristics of the shakuhachi.

George Miller

RYOANJI - Great Sound
A musical adventure!


What a great record this is. Much more peaceful and relaxing than his previous "Shakuhachi Club NYC" and none the worse for it. The music is incredibly soothing and has proved a great comfort in helping me adapt to leaving home. If you've never heard the music of the shakuhachi before you could do much worse than to listen to this.


Groove Shakuhachi Music.
Great Music.
I love the idea behind this music. Great Shakuhachi player.
The songs arrangments are so COOL. They all blend around shakuhachi`s sound colors. And they all Groove!!


Absolutely Beautiful!