207

Satoko Fujii Quartet: Bacchus

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Satoko Fujii Quartet: Bacchus The jazz of today is the most vibrant ever. It has shaken off the straitjacket of "jazz as style," replacing it with the concept of "jazz as an attitude or aesthetic." Paradoxically, the music produced by the players embracing this concept is called avant-garde; primarily because it cannot be immediately pigeonholed and is inherently challenging. In truth, however, jazz has always been a moving target, and has always challenged those who choose to remain comfortable.

Pianist Satoko Fujii must be considered as a member of the elite group of composer/players in the jazz world today. Possessing enormous energy and a restless intellect, jazz of the highest quality and of all genres seems to pour out of her. Fujii creates many different groups, each embodying specific sonic and compositional goals, with the exceptional Bacchus coming from her Japanese rock quartet.

The group has put out four other albums, all named after Greco-Roman gods: Vulcan (Libra, 2001), Minerva (Libra, 2002), Zephyros (Not Two, 2003) and Angelona (Libra, 2005). Each explores sounds and emotions emanating from the rock viewpoint, which is embodied by the very heavy and yet responsive rhythm section of electric bassist Takeharu Hayakawa and drummer Tatsuya Yoshida.

Indeed, Fujii has noted that she used to use the same charts for both this quartet and her other one consisting of Tamura, bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black, getting different sounds from the differing player's styles. More and more, however, she is writing differently for each group, with this band being more structured and groove oriented.

Despite the many groups and changing instrumentation, Fujii's music remains instantly recognizable because of her ability to integrate sometimes extreme contrast, with fetching melodies, humor, hard-driving energy and constant surprise within structures that have an audible logic.

Bacchus, relative to the previous four releases, is a bit on the lighter side, but is just as intense and engrossing. A number of tunes have titles that accurately describe the music. "Flying Elephant," the longest track, opens with a melody that conveys a clear sense of graceful (grey) heft, before giving way to a terrific drum solo by Yoshida and softer, more introspective duo section between Tamura and Fujii. "Waltz For Godzilla" is hardly a standard 3/4 waltz, but then again neither is the dancer.

The two "Town" tracks sound related in their overall eeriness and bass lines, but with differing rhythms and clashing meters. The title tune is completely improvised, the result pure dynamite, while the two versions of "Natsu Mae" project pure power through precision.

Bacchus is music for the adventurous ear and mind, and it delivers many times over. Any listener coming to jazz from progressive rock has much in which to revel with this album as well as the four others.


Track Listing: Sunset in Savannah; In the Town Called Empty; Natsu Mae; Flying Elephant; Bacchus; In the Town You Don't See on the Map; Waltz for Godzilla; Natsu Mae (with effect).

Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Satoko Fujii: piano; Takeharu Hayakawa: bass; Tatsuya Yoshida: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Muzak | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Another Day in Fucking Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Another Day in Fucking Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Of Sound Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Of Sound Mind
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 30, 2016
Read "Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 7, 2016
Read "Penumbra" CD/LP/Track Review Penumbra
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Shoebox View" CD/LP/Track Review Shoebox View
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Tales From A Forbidden Land" CD/LP/Track Review Tales From A Forbidden Land
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 1, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!