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Six North - Prayer

Six North - PrayerThe ethereal vocalisation at the start of Prayer doesn’t prepare you for what comes next.  Mind set on something along the lines of Karda Estra classical twinned with prog disappears when the ghostly vocalisation is broken by a maniacal laugh and the band kicks in fusion style.  The improv continues and the vocalisation returns in a Renaissance vein, jazz and prog at one with each other.

Six North’s style is hard to pin down but as the album continues, there is a strong sense of Canterbury.

The band is led by Hideyuki Shima (bass, Keyboards) with Chizuko Ura (voice), Shinju Odajima and Takumi Seino (guitars), Eisuke Kato and Kunihiro Kameda (keyboards), Toru Morichika (sax) and Hiroshi “Gori” Matsuda (drums).  Chizuko’s voice is a delight both in the three tracks that have lyrics (in Japanese) and the others in which her voice is used as an ‘instrument’.  In Everything Becomes Circle, KBB’s Akihisa Tsuboy makes a guest appearance on violin, sounding a lot like ex Soft Machine (and Fairport Convention’s) Ric Saunders adding to the tell tale Canterbury connection.

I detect a bit of Hatfield And The North influence in The Enneagram in sound and structure.  The sax player on this track could be Jimmy Hastings himself.  From Sri Lanka To Titan borrows a lot from Brand X and Weather Report with its tight but improvised sound.

The Age Of Horus is distinctively Canterbury with moments of prog-fusion for good measure, the main melody repeated throughout.

Introduction To Richard (Richard being the next and final track) is a gentle and subdued guitar improvisation played in such a way as to sound like smooth synth, like the sound of some of the intro to Genesis Colony of Slippermen – well not quite but almost.  Richard is dedicated to one of Canterbury’s finest, Richard Sinclair and features another Canterbury legend, Richard’s cousin Dave Sinclair guesting on organ.  With lyrics sung and written by Chizuko Ura, the song includes an extract of Fitter Stoke has A Bath by Pip Pyle, a Hatfield And The North piece.  This is the one occasion where I wish an English translation of the lyrics was provided in the CD booklet, but whatever the meaning, they sound delightful in Japanese.

Prayer is the second album by Six North and should be well received by fans of progressive jazz and prog.  How nice it is to know that Canterbury has a second home – in Japan.  Excellent.

Jem Jedrzejewski


Six North


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