Friendly Pants is a passionate studio session between American free jazz rhythm section Chikamorachi (drummer Chris Corsano and bassist Darin Gray) and Akira Sakata, one of Japan's major free sax players. The recording took place in Tokyo in August 2006. Sakata's range on the alto extends from tender swirls to furious screams, without resorting to skronks. The Americans are in fine form, overdriving the music as usual, Corsano's speed drumming remaining one of the marvels of the modern music world. Each foreigner gets a duet with Sakata, and these are the two shortest tracks. The rest of the album consists of four nine-minute-plus trios. Each piece is given its own personality: "Friendly Pants" is sweet and soulful, "Un" is cheerful-turning-to-bitter, "That Day of Rain" starts mournful, then gets exciting. Particularly interesting is the Sakata/Corsano duet "In Case, Let's Go to Galaxy," if only because it allows for comparison with Corsano's long-running duo with another powerful saxman, Paul Flaherty (it comes off as less pathos-driven but just as galvanizing). Friendly Pants is a very satisfying record, intense but well-paced, with Gray's low presence in the mix being the only sour note. And there is no denying the chemistry between the players. It makes a fine calling card for Sakata, who is little known on the North American free improvisation circuit.