Satoko Fujii Quartet | Bacchus

Muzak • www.muzak.co.jp

Pianist / composer Satoko Fujii and her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura have an impressive background of collaborative efforts. Not only did they play together in the Min-Yho Ensemble, they’ve also collaborated with people such as Mark Dresser, Jim Black, Yoshida Tatsuya, Paul Bley and countless others. Their most impressive project together to me is Gato Libre that saw Fujii switch over to accordion.

The fifth release for Fujii’s Quartet, Bacchus is a varied affair. While the same melodic developments are present that Fujii’s listeners will recognize, her music is full of sharp, jagged interspersions. “Flying Elephant” features a lot of genteel movements that are abruptly broken up with the rhythm section’s wild beats. Bassist Hayakawa Takeharu and percussionist Yoshida Tatsuya let it rip more often than not. This forces Fujii to keep a close tab on things. Takeharu is even able to stretch out and play a few solo sections, while the others take a rest. The title track sees Fujii play interspersed clusters on the ivories, while Tamura lets out highly polarized tones from his trumpet.

The music moves in a natural progression. There are never any odd moments of indecision as Fujii is a master at moving things along. That and the fact that she composed every piece on the record means the listener might think many of the passages here are overtly tight, overtly controlled. However, that’s luckily not the case as the leader lets a lot of freedom seep into her written work. Each of the players gets to develop their own unique language within the confines of these compositions. This is music that is highly inspirational, forward-looking and full of brisk bursts of emotions.

Tom Sekowski – April 2008

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Tom Sekowski
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