Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

403

Satoko Fujii Min-Yoh Ensemble: Fuijin Raijin

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii's artistic restlessness is given full flower on Fujin Raijin, her first album of Min'yo compositions. Classically trained, Fujii is one of today's most eclectic jazz figures, leading ensembles that range from intimate chamber duos to full-sized big bands. Long fascinated by the emotional directness of Min'yo (traditional Japanese folk music), Fujii finally takes the plunge with a mix of traditional and original pieces.

Fujii is joined by her usual foil, husband and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, and two New Yorkers—trombonist Curtis Hasselbring and accordionist Andrea Parkins. Tamura's acoustic Gato Libre ensemble, featuring Fujii on accordion, traffics in conceptually similar territory. Where Gato Libre mines European folk traditions with bucolic moderation, Fujii's Min-Yoh ensemble explores a similar but more impassioned variation on Japanese folk tunes.

At its core, Min'yo is utilitarian folk music, often used to accompany labor with call and response structures, similar in a sense to the Negro Spirituals of the American South. Fujii opens and closes the album with her own arrangements of traditional Min'yo pieces, which flow seamlessly into the originals.

Fujii's pieces unfold gradually, moving at an unhurried pace. Unimpeded by a traditional rhythm section, the quartet plies rubato rhythms with elastic finesse and regal patience. Developments arrive episodically with modulations in dynamic intensity. The quartet trades pregnant silences and whispered musings one moment, ascending into ebullient polyphony the next, only to drift back into the ether again.

Drawing heavily on free jazz conventions, the quartet members regularly employ a variety of extended techniques for maximum expression. Fujii plays inside the piano, scraping her strings, Tamura juggles mutes and half-vale effects, Parkin's accordion wheezes sub-harmonic tones that sound like electronic transmissions and Hasselbring delivers blurred lines of blustery urgency.

Blending the buoyant optimistic anthems and yearning sorrow of folk music with the turbulent drama of free jazz, Fujin Raijin is a singular experiment in crossing Japanese traditional music with western concepts of the avant-garde. A fascinating record; one never expects anything less from Satoko Fujii.


Track Listing: Itsuki No Komoriuta; Champloo; Shimanto; Slowly and Slowly; Fujin Raijin; Kariboshi Kiriuta.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii: piano; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Curtis Hasselbring: trombone; Andrea Parkins: accordion.

Title: Fuijin Raijin | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Victo


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Somewhere Glimmer CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Jorg Schippa's Kiosk" CD/LP/Track Review Jorg Schippa's Kiosk
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Resonance" CD/LP/Track Review Resonance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 23, 2017
Read "Leap of Faith Orchestra - Possible Universes" CD/LP/Track Review Leap of Faith Orchestra - Possible Universes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by John Kelman
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "Live In The South Bronx" CD/LP/Track Review Live In The South Bronx
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 31, 2016
Read "3's a Crowd" CD/LP/Track Review 3's a Crowd
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 21, 2017

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!