It must be a daunting job to be the third wheel in a trio with the likes of Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura. The husband-wife piano and trumpet duo are remarkably active. Both are inventive composers leading numerous bands with diverse approaches and each is often in the other's groups. They've got a commonality it would seemingly be hard to step in on.
Percussionist John Hollenbeck rises to it, though, and the couple has smarts enough to let the trio be a group. The result is not a one-off meeting and it's not the unfinished effort the title Fragment might suggest. Rather, it's a strong album by a group that deserves to outlast the ships-in-the-night nature of many improvising ensembles.
The ten compositions are all Fujii's and build nicely across the disc. The first two tracks feature Fujii's piano stating themes against squeezed trumpet and buoyant drums. But then, surprisingly, they delve into deeper territory. Fujii's prepared piano and Hollenbeck and Tamura's quiet extended technique become an organic whole, sounding oddly electronic at times although the group is billed as being acoustic-only.
What makes what might otherwise have been an unbalanced trio work is that Hollenbeck, too, is an imaginative and subtle composer. He doesn't try to stand out, at times disappearing altogether to allow Fujii's compositions to show through. And they do. Fragment is yet another set of strong pieces well-played by the startlingly prolific pianist.
Track Listing: A Dream in the Dawn; Ants Are Crossing the Highway; Getting Lost on Snowy Day; At Intersection, on a Rainy Day; Looking Out of the Window; Your Neighbors; Wok Cooking; Tin Can Godzilla; Cats' Nap; Lullaby.
Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Satoko Fujii: piano; John Hollenbeck: percussion.
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.