Juice: Vinyl LPMRBLP252
Label: Mr Bongo
Release Date: 5th August
All you need to know
- Out on Mr Bongo
- Japanese Jazz Fusion
- Air-Brushed Artwork
- Heavily sampled
- Funky as a mother-jeffer
- Killer synths and keys with breaks for days
- Ryo's worked with Elvin Jones, Chico Hamilton and Bobbi Humphrey aka pillars of the jazz funk world
- Dunno, what else could you want? Look at that cover ferchrissakes! It's an electric orange!
Born in Japan in 1947, Ryo had a long and stellar career recording and releasing
music up until his passing on 13 April 2020, in Tallinn, Estonia. Ryo is one of the
pioneers of the jazz fusion genre, with the Japanese jazz fusion / funk sound
becoming extremely influential within the 80s UK club scene and amongst its DJs.
His track 'Trinkets & Things' became a bonafide underground classic. In the US he
worked with some of the greats of jazz, such as Elvin Jones, Chico Hamilton and
Bobbi Humphrey, to name but a few. A forward-thinking and ever-evolving musician,
Ryo collaborated with the Roland Corporation and Korg on the 'guitar synthesizer'
and later wrote music software for computers. Later in life he relocated to Estonia
and worked there, as well as Finland, Sweden, and the Baltic states.
'Juice' has become a much-loved album for crate diggers and jazz-funk enthusiasts,
with its tracks frequently being sampled and re-imagined in hip-hop. The smoky, beat-
down, spiritual funk jam 'Bamboo Child' has been flipped by Diamond D, Puff Daddy,
and Kool G Rap. The album was released in 1976 on RCA Records and features the
musicians' drummer Jimmy Young, rhythm guitarist Hugh McCracken, and bassist Stu
Woods amongst other luminaries. A solid album throughout that incorporates a heavy
dose of tripped-out synths alongside the emerging disco sound of the time. Tracks such
as the opener 'Raisins', with its drum beat intro and bubbling bass-line, rivals The
Headhunters at their finest. A superb album from an underground legend.