Yuko Fujiyama Quartet: Re-entry
Re-entry is a really great album, but it has a fatal flaw: the leader, pianist Yuko Fujiyama, disappears deep in the crevasses of the left channel. If for nothing else, this record deserves attention as a failure of engineering. Producer Robert Rusch ironically hits it right on the head when he offers up some (ironic but unrelated) poetry on "If Words":
"I'd rather be mute."
Fortunately, the other three musicians on Re-entry do a spectacular job. Basically Re-entry comes across as a Roy Campbell record, since his voice is the most prominent one on the recording. And as far as I'm concerned, one can only benefit by turning up the Roy Campbell. He's at his cleverest and most probing here: sharp around the edges. Recent Campbell releases have been a bit mixed, so it's nice to hear him glow so brightly on Re-entry.
Fujiyama offers a few nice clustery, rhythmically complex performances at the piano. When Campbell sits out and she steps into solo territory, you get the sense of an intelligent improviser who's actively striving to break new ground. High praise for Fujiyama, if we could only hear more of her (and yes, fortunately, the piano does become more audible during fortissimo passages).
As for the rhythm section, Morris and Nicholson are past the point of telepathic intuition, so they create some monumental landscapes here. Not to dismiss the obvious, but you don't have to think much about that one to know in advance that these two guys are gonna fit hand-in-glove.
The moods on Re-entry cover a wide range, from contemplative stillness to high- voltage electricity. Each tune goes after things from a slightly different angle, so one must respect the Fujiyama's compositional finesse. Come at this record with open ears and you'll agree that the leader of Re-Entry deserves more attention (and certainly a more prominent level in the mix). Keep your eyes out for this emerging star, only two years on wax. Fujiyama has quite a few interesting things to say.
Visit CIMP on the web.
Track Listing: Synaesthesis 1; Synaesthesis 2; Mr. Kim; Mellow Time; Whirl; If Words; Repetition; Re-Entry; Sadness Is.
Personnel: Yuko Fujiyama: piano; Roy Campbell: trumpet; Wilber Morris: bass; Reggie Nicholson: drums; Robert Rusch: voice (6).