236

Satoko Fujii Ma-Do: Desert Ship

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Pianist/bandleader Satoko Fujii's Ma-Do Quartet is loud, with a dense volume that is often stately, often fractured. The same can be said of much of her recorded output.

Fujii is a stunningly prolific artist who records in a dizzying array of ensemble configurations. Of her two most notable quartets, the Ma-Do band is described as an explorer of the quieter, more subtle side of her acoustic music. It is, though, all relative. Her louder and less intimate electric Satoko Fujii Quartet shakes walls and windows, and sets chandeliers swaying. So does Ma-Do, but in a gentler, more acoustic fashion, down a point or two on the Richter scale.

The telepathic interplay between Fujii and her husband/musical soul mate, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura—showcased marvelously on their 2009 duo recording, Chun—blasts forward on this set's opener, "February-Locomotive-February." The tune charges ahead like a down-bound train, brakes failing, the drive train—Fuji, bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu and drummer Akira Horikoshi—flailing, with Tamura's trumpet screaming over the frantic machinations.

The title tune sputters to life on Tamura's fluttering, flatulent trumpet solo that settles into clean-toned majesty, albeit with some rough edges to it. Koreyasu's bass comes in, and then Fujii's crystalline keyboard enters with Horikoshi's rumbling drums, at a deliberate tempo that has the "Desert Ship" sounding as if it is on an unhurried journey.

"Nile River" opens with a deliberate march, relentless while threatening to lose control on Koreyasu's strident bowed bass lines. And, as in many—if not most—Fujii compositions, things seem to crumble in the direction of in-your-face chaos.

"Pluto" begins with the quartet members probing the silence before they jell into some neurotic interplay. Fujii takes a solo—delicate at first, pretty, as it cranks its way toward sonic entropy, with Tamura squealing into her maelstrom of notes.

Satoko Fujii is definitely of the avant-garde school of jazz, but her quartet recordings—and especially the Ma-Do Quartet—are some of her most approachable sounds. Desert Ship is a good introduction to her singular world, and another excellent set for her longtime fans.

Track Listing: February-Locomotive-February; Desert Ship; Nile River; Ripple Mark; Sunset In The Desert; Pluto; While You Were Sleeping; Capillaries; Vapour Trail.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii: piano; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Norikatsu Koreyasu: bass; Akira Horikoshi: drums.

Title: Desert Ship | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Not Two Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Two in a Box CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Discussions CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "Mobiles Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Mobiles Vol. 1
by James Nadal
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "Trane 90" CD/LP/Track Review Trane 90
by Jim Trageser
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Two in a Box" CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "TriAngular Bent" CD/LP/Track Review TriAngular Bent
by Dave Wayne
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Faces" CD/LP/Track Review Faces
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left" CD/LP/Track Review Passing and Longing and There Is Only a Trace Left
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 15, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.