There seems to be an upsurge in interest in Japanese jazz at the moment. The Spiritual Jazz and BBE labels have both recently minted compilations of some of the nation’s master players with the intention of introducing them to a Western audience. Now the ever-excellent Mule Musiq have got in on the act with this reissue of Fumio Itabashi’s 1979 LP Nature. Recorded when the pianist was thirty, Nature was Itabashi’s first solo record in a career which subsequently saw him play with Ray Anderson and Elvin Jones. Nature can swing when it wants - try opener ‘When You Smile’ and the hard-bopping ‘Macumba’ - but it also shows good range. Closer ‘Ash’, for instance, is a spiritual jazz entry that bares the mark of both John and Alice Coltrane.