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Half- facetiously Emily Remler once joked that she wasn’t really a young female Jazz guitarist, but the reincarnation of an old male jazz guitarist from years earlier. The same jape could be applied to Ryoko Ono. Instead of really being a young saxophonist from Nagoya, Japan, she could be the reincarnation of Cleveland’s Albert Ayler, who would be 80 of he was alive today, a lot older than Wes Montgomery or Grant Green would have been if Remler saw them in the 1970s.

At the same time in terms of the ferocity, the way she and Dutch drummer Rogier Smal blitzkreig the nine untitled tracks have the velocity and power of fictional Spinal Tap guitarist Nigel Tufnel showing how the usual zero to 10 volume knob goes up to 11. From the get-go, like the desiccated vocal tones of her namesake, Yoko Ono, Ono’s reed program is nearly always altissimo pitched or higher, sharper than a fencing saber and shrill enough to inflect flesh wounds on any of the ears’ receptor organs. On “Wood Moon 4” she moans in a raspy, syllable-retching delivery that makes the vocalizations of Ayler and Y. Ono appear almost dulcet. With sophisticated technical command of her instrument as well, she tongues elongated phrases from her alto without a pause almost before she finishes intoning.

Ken Waxman / Jazzword


released May 1, 2020

Ryoko Ono: Saxohone, vocals
Rogier Smal: Drums, percussion
Artwork and design by Simon Fowler
JVT0016 / TOZ017 (Jvtlandt / Toztizok Zoundz 2016)


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Ono Ryoko 小埜涼子 Nagoya, Japan

I'm an improvise saxophonist, flautist, composer and arranger.in Nagoya, Aichi,Japan.
for My solo, I uses "non-breath" circulation technique and multi-phonics to explore and pursue endless, rich and complex sounds. My exquisite performance is memorable and she is establishing sophisticated style of music. ... more

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