151

Satoko Fujii: Bell the Cat

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
A tough review, this new CD, Bell the Cat! by Satoko Fujii. Her art is an indescribable entity. Avant-Garde, adventurous, daring, startling, "out there". All of those and more.

Pianist/composer Fujii began her musical journey in Japan, studying classical music. But she soon found that world too dulling and stuffy for her temperment. Improvisation and freedom, it seems, were in her blood, and her own music mixed itself into an amalgam of jazz, classical, traditional Japanese folk, with even some elements of hard-driving rock. (A caterpillar/butterfly metaphor seems apt—the winged one breaking away from the restrictions of the unyielding cocoon, and flying free; but then that might imply an inevitablity or a certain effortlessness.) The constants in her new music: improvisation, surprises and delights, staid musical assumptions smashed to little bits...

Fujii has worked in a variety of settings, most successfuly, perhaps, in the trio format. On Bell the Cat! she's hooked up once again with long term partners in sweet musical crime (five CDs, and counting) bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black.

Fujii's compositions are challenging, but they don't eschew melody or delicacy, nor do they shy away from dissonance and explosive clamor, or driving, wall-shaking beat. A thousand elements of sound interwoven here.

Of the seven songs on the CD, two are extended pieces. The opener, the fifteen minute-plus "Silence", draws the listener into its shifting realities. From gentle melodic containment to savage sonic disarrays; and "Slowly and Slowly" starts out as a stately straight-up tune that builds an ominous atmosphere; then some stretched-taffy bow work by Dresser's bass, and a rattle and snap, rocks on the tin roof drum/percussion interlude by Jim Black before Fujii comes back in with lush notes and chords.

Remarkable sounds, if you can come up with a remark for the indescribable.

Rewarding music for those with open minds, and a willingness to just...listen.


Track Listing: Silence, Get Along Well With..., Slowly and Slowly, Confluence, Foot Step, Bell the Cat!, Chaploo

Personnel: Satoko Fujii, piano; Jim Black, drums, Mark Dresser, bass

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Tokuma Japan | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Gamble and The Rhythm Serenaders
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Porto da Madama" CD/LP/Track Review Porto da Madama
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Short Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Short Stories
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "Live At Zaal 100" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Zaal 100
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Guitar Fantasies" CD/LP/Track Review Guitar Fantasies
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Visual Music" CD/LP/Track Review Visual Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 18, 2016

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!