On her first solo record in eight years, Satoko Fujii gives free rein to her impulses. Her approaches are many and she constructs each piece with careful articulation. Her thoughts may run rampant or flow in placid ripple, but there is no denying that she brings in a strong technique that creates some magnetic moments.
Fujii makes judicious use of space. She can invent room so that they fall into the nooks she has shaped or drop clusters that reverberate and thunder through a two-handed attack. At first the pace is all too deliberate on the opening tune, but she soon weaves a pattern that adds vibrancy as her hands dance over the keyboards. This brings us to another tune, and another approach. Calling "Tin Can Cat" a tune would be an exercise in imagination, for she does not play one. Instead she uses everything that the piano has to set up a temperate exercise in rhythm, and never a musical note. There is a more linear approach and a melody that sings of the blues on "Clay Pot," a nice one indeed. In contrast comes the whirlwind of "Frozen Fire," heated and whipped with her hammer-lock attack, her accents sharp, scathing and dizzying. All of this makes looking forward to her next worth the while.
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.