When four creative artists get together to improvise spontaneously for an hour and nine minutes, you can become completely immersed in their impressions.
Like the ocean's surging tidewaters and its millions of creatures in motion, the music on In the Tank swirls continuously with eerie sensations. Piano, guitar, trumpet, and saxophone keep things distant and mysterious through four continuous tracks. Like the vast ocean, the program does contain considerable space. However, the quartet is sure to include all the exotic elements that comprise marine habitats.
From a harmonic perspective, the stringed instruments lend a traditional Japanese aura that's tempered by blues emotion. Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura adds to the collage a crying horn that wails from afar. Alongside roiling water impressions from pianist Satoko Fujii, the trumpeter's passions swim in several directions at once. Screams and moans characterize the chilling atmosphere of the deep blue sea.
As the quartet explores the nature of undersea creatures through its spontaneous impressions, you can feel the vast emptiness that surrounds them. Considerable space and a lack of direction, however, give the session an intangible texture. There's not much in this performance to remember after the day is done. Incoherent sounds, eerie cascades, distant humming, and percussive rants wander and commingle with no sense of time. Like ocean life, this musical scene comes and goes without fanfare. It's just there.
The high point of the quartet's free improvisation comes three minutes into the final track as all four artists converge in a feeding frenzy that builds with intensity. While the session allows for too much space and too few overt projections, it affords a clear picture of impressionism through the spirit of free jazz.
Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Elliott Sharp: soprano saxophone, guitar; Takayuki Kato: guitar;
Satoko Fujii: piano.