5

Satoko Fujii New Trio: Spring Storm

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Satoko Fujii New Trio: Spring Storm Back at the start of her career, Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii's reputation was considerably enhanced by her stellar trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black. Together they waxed seven discs, with the last Trace A River (Libra) in 2008. Since then, the traditional piano trio hasn't appeared in her prodigious output, until the New Trio debuted here on Spring Storm. While perhaps not as virtuosic as their predecessors, bassist Todd Nicholson and drummer Takashi Itani bring open minds and singular personalities to the bandstand. Fujii's expansive writing presents lots of opportunities for both men.

Equally through her execution as well as her idiosyncratic charts, Fujii defies being pigeon-holed by genre, adopting a range of approaches which draw on jazz, rock and contemporary classical in a deeply personal post-modern mix. But whatever the inspiration, she always remains determinedly expressive, unafraid of either wild dissonance or the honeyed phrase. As her conception so often revolves around insistent piano figures, bass and drums are given dispensation to become more conversational (Nicholson) and to generate momentum by playing around the beat (Itani). Indeed Nicholson excels as a melodic as much as a rhythmic voice, providing a flexible bottom end, while Itani adds an element of unruly unpredictability, most obvious in "Convection" where he resolutely avoids meshing with the pianist's syncopated rush.

It's only on the puckish "Whirlwind" that the head-solos-head format holds sway. Elsewhere Fujii plots multi-faceted courses. In the title track, all three seem as if they are chafing at the boundaries of the meditative rubato opening before exploding into a typically surging line which begets one of the leader's strong outings. On "Fuki" it sounds as if the structure has been set but not the content, as skittering trio sections alternate with Nicholson's unaccompanied bass, before parting to allow a thunderous piano excursion which involves forays under the bonnet as well as ferocious two-handed pummelling. "Maebure" also heavily features the bassist, as his speech-like arco swoops and wavers around rattling percussion and slow piano ripples, before another gear change into a choppy riff, a wild piano passage and a solo of tumbling polyrhythms by Itani. Already it feels as if the New Trio has carved out a distinctive niche, and it will be fascinating to follow their progress.

Track Listing: Spring Storm; Convection; Fuki; Whirlwind; Maebure; Tremble.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii: piano; Todd Nicholson: bass; Takashi Itani: drums.

Title: Spring Storm | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Libra Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "The Tenth Muse" CD/LP/Track Review The Tenth Muse
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Parachute" CD/LP/Track Review Parachute
by Mike Jacobs
Published: September 13, 2016
Read "Back In Your Own Backyard" CD/LP/Track Review Back In Your Own Backyard
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Nearness And You, Duets and Improvisations" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness And You, Duets and Improvisations
by John Sharpe
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Live In Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.