Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

25

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

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Read more articles
For 2 Akis

For 2 Akis

ECM Records
2018

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019
Read Rasif Album Reviews
Rasif
By Chris M. Slawecki
January 21, 2019
Read Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 Album Reviews
Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981
By John Sharpe
January 20, 2019
Read More Than One Thing Album Reviews
More Than One Thing
By Gareth Thompson
January 20, 2019
Read Wandering Monster Album Reviews
Wandering Monster
By Roger Farbey
January 20, 2019