An evening in a coffee house in Kyoto 40 years ago has lingered fondly in the memories of those who were there. Now, the stellar performance of John Renbourn that night is available for all to hear on Live in Kyoto 1978. Renbourn, along with his sometimes partner Bert Jansch (with whom he formed Pentangle in the '60s), has been passed since 2015 – but the music that he made continues to inspire, alongside the works of fellow travelers like Davey Graham, Wizz Jones and John Martyn. Over 50 years ago, Renbourn was at the forefront of the British folk revival as it mingled with the blues boom that was exploding at the same time. Renbourn's style mixed these traditions with classical, jazz, world and early music techniques, and his picking was second to none.
Live in Kyoto 1978 is a remarkable document of Renbourn's talent spun out over an evening's-worth of performances, during which his ease of playing left the audience speechless afterwards. The recording was made by the late Satoro Fujii, whose archive of recordings was discovered posthumously and have begun to see release in recent years. Satoro captured the performance with pristine detail, allowing us to hear the fine detail of John's fretwork and the warmth and delight in the room as he played. Featuring notes from Masaki Bathoh, who was one of the enchanted listeners in attendance, Live in Kyoto 1978 is a superb performance of John Renbourn at the height of his powers.