Kaze: Rafale (2011)
Adventure is always the key with Fujii. Classically trained, she abandoned that structured musical world to explore her own vision, a mixture of avant-garde jazz and modern classical, rock and folk music and freewheeling improvised sounds. Rafale captures a 2010 concert from Krakow, Poland, that served as a celebration of the bicentennial of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin's birth. The set opens with the Tamura-penned "Noise Chopin," and does, indeed, open with "noise"the whining creak of Tamura's trumpet sounding like the movement of a rusty hinge, the swinging open of an aged door. The sound evolves, as Tamura is joined by Pruvost, into a power tool serenade that moves into a military march when Orins rolls into the mix. Five minutes in, Fujii's piano makes its appearance, a brief miasma of a collective interlude that gives way to a spacious trumpet/percussion section, leading to a delicately beautiful solo piano movement.
That's the way it is with Kaze's music: twists and turns, noise followed by lyrical beauty; nuanced percussion followed by powerhouse drumming; and wild cacophonies that lead into introspective solo slots. Expect the unexpected.
Orins contributes three tunes to the set. "Anagramme" opens with dry trumpet chatterthe song of a parched birdunderlain by an electric hum. Fujii's piano comes in on a ruminative note, drawing Orins in for a section with a very structured feel.
Fujii's "The Thaw" features the pianist at her most lyrical, with a dry trumpet breeze fluttering over her piano, while "Blast" begins with what sounds like a big, sizzling piece of electronicsa large screen TV, perhapsshort circuiting toward an explosion. After a brief reign of chaos, structure gels, then breaks apart in spectacular fashion, that big screen TV blown to smithereens.
Fujii's Rafale is, ultimately, a stimulating experience for open ears.
Track Listing: Noise Chopin; Anagramme; The Thaw; Marie-T; Polly; Blast.
Personnel: Christian Pruvost: trumpet; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Satoko Fujii: piano; Peter Orins: drums.
Record Label: Libra Records
Style: Modern Jazz