All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

24

Shinya Fukumori Trio: For 2 Akis

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Japanese drummer Shinya Fukumori played violin, piano and guitar before taking up drums. He studied in the U.S., completing his formal education at Boston's Berklee College. But he had to move to Germany—specifically Munich, home of ECM's headquarters—to find his voice. Shinya first heard the German pianist Walter Lang in Osaka, and got to play with French tenor saxophonist Matthieu Bordenave at a jam session in Munich. The three of them have a special chemistry, with the two Europeans evincing great empathy with the Japanese cultural elements in this music.

While the leader is the main composer, all the players contribute. But there are also several Japanese pieces from the Shōwa era (1926-89) which Shinya grew up listening to with his parents and grandparents. These certainly contribute to the distinct atmosphere of the session, especially since they are not generally played by jazz musicians (with one major exception in this case). But perhaps the most striking thing is how naturally they are integrated with the original material: there is no air of exoticism here.

The album begins and ends with Kenji Miyazawa's "Hoshi Meguri No Uta" ("The Star-Circling Song"), establishing the floating, rubato feeling typical of the trio's playing. Of course this is not an unusual approach on an ECM album, but this group really takes a deep dive into it. Bordenave's light, airy tenor saxophone tone is complimented by Lang's uncluttered, lyrical piano. And Fukumori is among the most poetic of drummers, his light touch lending only the necessary textures and rhythms: reminiscent of the late, great drummer Paul Motian, a frequent contributor to ECM recordings. Shinya's title tune is like the trio's theme song: one of the first rubato-type compositions he wrote, and among the first they played together.

Walter Lang's "No Goodbye" is the most "jazz" sounding tune on the program, proof that the trio does not always have to play rubato. "Mangetsu No Yube" ("Full Moon Night") stands out among the "covers" for its almost Celtic sounding melody. "Kojo No Tsuki" ("The Moon over the Ruined Castle") is the one Japanese song jazz fans may recognize. Pianist/composer Thelonious Monk played it on Straight, No Chaser (Columbia, 1967) under the title "Japanese Folk Song" (the real title and composer credits have since been added). It was heard recently as part of the soundtrack of the 2016 film La La Land. Monk's version decorated the original melody with Monkish filigree; it is even more striking in its unadorned state.

The Shinya Fukumori Trio has a marvelously distilled sound. No matter how free their playing gets, they always sound like they are playing the song. Nothing is extraneous, and no space is wasted.

Track Listing: Hoshi Meguri No Uta; Silent Chaos; Ai San San; For 2 Akis; The Light Suite: Kojo No Tsuki/Into The Light/The Light; No Goodbye; Spectacular; Mangetsu No Yube; Émeraude; When The Day Is Done; Hoshi Meguri No Uta (Variation).

Personnel: Shinya Fukumori: drums; Matthieu Bordenave: tenor saxophone; Walter Lang: piano.

Title: For 2 Akis | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: ECM Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Love Stone CD/LP/Track Review
Love Stone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Empty Castles CD/LP/Track Review
Empty Castles
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Myths and Morals CD/LP/Track Review
Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read The Sum Of My Pardon CD/LP/Track Review
The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "Tensegridad" CD/LP/Track Review Tensegridad
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Humanities" CD/LP/Track Review Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Involution" CD/LP/Track Review Involution
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 6, 2018
Read "Donora Autumn" CD/LP/Track Review Donora Autumn
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "The Sum Of My Pardon" CD/LP/Track Review The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "Toy Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review Toy Tunes
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 16, 2018