Mara Purl | Koto Kist

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Jazz: World Fusion World: Japanese contemporary Moods: Type: Soundtrack
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Koto Kist

by Mara Purl

Eclectic and evocative Koto (Japanese harp)leads the listener through seasons and geographies, with collaborations from leading jazz and rock artists.
Genre: Jazz: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Spring Thaw
3:05 album only
clip
2. Spring
2:39 album only
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3. Mukashi Modern
8:12 album only
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4. Rokudan Memories
2:29 album only
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5. Long Way Home
4:49 album only
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6. Autumn
6:19 album only
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7. Niwa No Yuki
3:44 album only
clip
8. North Wind
4:09 album only
clip
9. Pole Star
13:30 album only
clip
10. Hot Springs
5:04 album only
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11. Distant THunder
6:20 album only
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12. Midnight Mesa
11:23 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Mara Purl is an instrumentalist on the KOTO, the classical Japanese harp. Mara grew up in Tokyo, and from an early age was fascinated with the instrument. Although she studied its classical form, she was to discover her own unique approach to the instrument.

Invited at the age of 19 to join the well known composer Teiji Ito in composing and performing Jerome Robbin's autobiographical ballet "Watermill" for the New York City Ballet, Mara established a new "koto" category in the Musician's Union, and was the only koto player listed in Local 802. "Watermill" has now taken its place as an icon of American dance, with Mara still the only koto player ever to perform the piece. Most recently "Watermill" was performed at the famous Theatre Chatelet in Paris, where Mara's koto intrigued the Parisian audiences.
While creating other innovative dance music - for Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Lonny J. Gordon Dance Company at the Museum of Modern Art, and the Joffrey Ballet, among others - Mara expanded into rock music, and was the first to play koto on a rock album. First with the group "Mandrill", then with Mike Love of the Beach Boys, she began to define a "rock koto" sound. Later she created a commercial koto sound in advertisements for Zen Cologne and Polaroid. Continuing to perform as a guest artist, she joined acclaimed jazz trumpet player and composer Bill Dixon for a New York concert at St. John the Divine, and was featured on "Beyond Antarres", the first album of Nichelle Nichols of "Star Trek" fame.
Long before there was "new age music" Mara was creating, performing and recording koto music never before heard in Eastern or Western music. This led to a joint album project with Charles Lloyd, "Koto", later released as "Pathless Path." The popularity of this album with the growing new-age consciousness has established "Pathless Path" as a cult favorite.
Mara's first solo album "Koto Kist", released in 1995, is a collection of classic koto performances and collaborations spanning the twenty years from 1975 to the present. From a historical point of view, it chronicles her introduction of the koto into progressive American music. But most importantly from a musical point of view, it is a haunting, contemplative work, which transports the listener to a world apart.
Soon to be released is "Koto Keys", a collaboration with pianist Marilyn Harris.
There's a high-energy side to Mara's koto playing as well, and this will be captured on another upcoming project,"Koto Kapacity". "Kapacity" shows still more of the instrument's spectrum, including jazz-koto, and rock-koto. Among the "Kapacity" pieces are some created with members of the Doobie Brothers. Mara's work with well known guitarist John McFee began with co-creating special music for Milford-Haven, an environmentally oriented radio soap opera created and produced by Mara, which was the first American radio serial ever broadcast on the BBC throughout the United Kingdom. Further work with John and with percussionist Keith Knudsen led to a four-way collaboration, between Mara, Keith and John, and Genji Ito, and these selections appear on both "Kist" and "Kapacity".
Another facet of Mara's music is the songs she writes, sings and performs. A prolific songwriter, she has written over 40 rock, blues and jazz ballads, and has co-written with Marilyn Harris, Cornelius Bumpus, John McFee, and Keith Knudsen. Her haunting and intensely personal album of songs "Manhattan Malibu" was released in 1996, co-produced with Marilyn Harris. It features her clear soprano, signature chording, unique poem-lyrics, and is a "retro" album of songs from the 70s which come to life with the freshness of new American music.

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