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paul.cortois@hiw.kuleuven.ac.be (Belgium)

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The Book of Tea
The Book of Tea
by Kakuzō Okakura
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty ritualized, 16 May 2002
This review is from: The Book of Tea (Paperback)
This little booklet, written in 1906, is still one of the absolute classics on the Japanese tea ceremony. This essay about Japanese culture as it is epitomized in the "way of tea" (chadō) also served as an apology for Eastern traditions at large to the Western world. Okakura was a practitioner, art critic and connoisseur, and a collaborator of Fenellosa and his circle, who introduced Japanese art in the United States. Although detailed technical information about the ceremony is avoided, the latter's historical background as well as its relation to Japanese attitudes, Zen, Tao, art and art appreciation are treated in a suggestive and essayistic vein. The way of tea appears as a "moral geometry" embodying particular values than a particular set of beliefs. There is, thus, a "philosophy of tea", at least in the sense that the practice of tea wholly constitutes a "form of life".
The book was written in a graceful, clear and precise English, which is in itself a remarkable feat.
Amateurs of the way of tea should combine this reading with more detailed studies such as Sadler's, Shositsu Sen's and Horst Hammitzsch's, or the academic and up to date study by Jennifer Anderson.


A Sea Of Faces
A Sea Of Faces

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The darkly polished brassware shines at you, 11 Oct. 2001
This review is from: A Sea Of Faces (Audio CD)
Although this performance from 1975 was known and appreciated by the then fans, some jazz critics, lamenting at the not so politico-musically correct evolution of Shepp's music, have failed to notice its remarkable qualities. While I agree with those connoisseurs that some details in this recording are less inspiring (Burrell's piano solo on "Hipnosis", Shepp's own piano playing on "I know 'bout the life", etc.), such criticisms virtually fade into nothing when you allow yourself to be carried away by the 25 minute "Hipnosis" (Grachan Moncur's obsessive theme). It offers one of the darkest, most exciting and sweeping tenor sax explorations to be found on Shepp's recordings (along with "Yasmina a black woman" and the now untraceable "Coral Rock" from the late sixties), intense and devoid of clichés. This millésime of Shepp may have become somewhat less acid, less fatty in the mouth and (whether you like it or not) more reconciled with tradition than the Impulse years' venturer. But the man is at the height of his powers here, not the captive of any one idiom but at home in many, including 'free'. Most of the time the music swings heavily and irresistibly. Shepp doesn't reduce his fellow musicians to the status of bystanders here. Bunny Foy is an excellent vocalist (on "Song For Mozambique" and "I know 'bout the life"), Charles Greenlee takes an exciting trombone solo on "Hipnosis", Cameron Brown on bass is outstanding throughout.
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