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Satoko Fujii: Hibiki

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Satoko Fujii: Hibiki
Expanding upon the Futari duo concept of pianist/composer Satoko Fujii and vibraphonist Taiko Saito, as depicted on Underground (Libra Records, 2021) and Beyond (Libra Records, 2021), Trio San incorporates drummer/composer Yuko Oshima, the album of whose, Hibiki, is a proportionately intense companion piece to the aforementioned pair of releases.

As if simultaneously beckoning the audience at Kesselhaus, Berlin in June of 2022 as well as invoking their muse as a new collaboration, Trio San begins Hibiki with its title song. Authored by Oshima, it sets the tone for the five other tracks comprised of similarly exploratory interactions, each of which is as courageous as it is atmospheric.

Running nearly thirteen minutes of mutual accommodation, this opener is not so much an icebreaker as a reaffirmation of the chemistry the threesome discovered and consolidated on a short tour prior to this concert. A proportionate expansion of what Satoko Fujii and Taiko Saito realized on their previous efforts together, the sounds here, like those LPs, are alternately comforting and disconcerting, somewhat hard to fathom at times but ultimately revealing an unusual but nonetheless tangible internal logic.

Not surprisingly, Fujii's "Soba" is the first of three selections in sequence of these half-dozen total: she is the heart and soul of this triumvirate. Still, as is customarily the case where she plays with others, she otherwise exerts no greater a force of gravity on these proceedings than her peers, both of whose respective exertions are in the proper proportion to each other and the pianist.

Thus, both Trio San as a unit and Hibiki as a title are object lessons in the creation and maintenance of balance. The fifty-four minutes of the album are indeed a demonstration of synchrony in action,no more so than on the aforementioned second number here: after a tuneful piano interval, Oshima hammers loudly around her kit, not so much in direct response to her band mate, but in a display of communicative exchange.

In so doing during such passages, Trio San are creating a shared instrumental language even as they all learn to read each others' respective styles on their chosen instruments. "Yozakura," for instance, features the three in roiling counterpoint, while the quiet and restful moments of pano and vibes on "Wa" reside at the opposite end of the spectrum. It is hardly a surprise, however, that in the homestretch of Hibiki, It is Satoko Fuji who once again sets the pace.

Not to disparage her esteemed comrades, but hers is the most fully-formed persona of the three. As is the case, far more often than not on the collaborative recording efforts within her one hundred-plus title discography, she is the flashpoint of improvisational and compositional creativity here, equally inspired and inspiring.

Track Listing

Hibiki; Soba; Yozakura; What You See; Wa; Ichigo.

Personnel

Taiko Saito
vibraphone
Trio San
band / ensemble / orchestra

Album information

Title: Hibiki | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Jazzdor Series

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