MK, keyboards; GE, piano, arranger; Billy Harper, tenor saxophone, flute, chime; “Hannibal” Marvin Peterson, Kunitoshi Shinohara, and Takehisa Suzuki, trumpet, flugelhorn; Kohsuke Mine, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Shigeo Suzuki, alto saxophone, flute; Kikuzo Tado, tuba; Nao Yamamoto and Kiyoshige Matsubara, french horn; Horoshi Munekiyo, trombone; Tadataka Nakazawa, bass trombone; Yukio Etoh, Masami Nakagawa, and Takashi Asahi, piccolo, alto flute, bass flute; Masyuki Takayanagi and Sadanori Nakamura, guitar; Isao Etoh and Yoshio Suzuki, bass; Kohichi Yamaguchi, timpani; Michiko Takahashi, marimba, vibes; Hideo Miyata, percussion; Yoshiyuki Nakamura and Masahiko Togashi, drums.
It would be wiser to pass out on the couch and forget the entire evening, but she decides to put on a record instead. She searches for something with a hushed late night vibe. In a fit of perversity, she grabs one of the old albums her ex-boyfriend Carton left behind. Two unfamiliar names: Masabumi Kikuchi and Gil Evans. But this is that jazz album Carlton said reminded him of her. He described the music as rare and exotic although she never paid much attention, figuring he was simply fixated on the combination of East and West. He tended to treat anything Japanese as if it inhabited a different and cooler planet. To her, the vinyl gives off a strong whiff of Orientalism. She figures it was another one of his hip collectibles. Another au courant lifestyle accessory. Just like she had been.
But she’s in a self-loathing mood and drops the needle on the record. Maybe she’s still a little drunk but there’s a woozy vibe to “Priestess” that makes her shut her eyes and listen closer. She can hear why Carlton liked this, but she also detects something else. It’s more than the unusual use of the big band, the familiar sound palette that’s been reconstructed to sound strange, the tones seeming fuzzy and smeared. She hones in on the sensual quality. The music almost fetishizes beauty and sexiness, but where those would be surface attributes in other songs here they come across as something spiritual. This music is secretly soulful, discreetly tapping into something deeper. And she’s pretty sure that is exactly what Carlton couldn’t hear.
As the wee hours of the morning unfold, she plays the slow-motion ballad “Drizzling Rain” again and again. It strikes her as the sound of interior weather, a low-pressure front of emotional precipitation, a mirrored reflection of the tears she hopes a shitfaced Carlton is wiping away somewhere across town at this very hour.