Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

22

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up: The Air Is Different

Robert Bush By

Sign in to view read count
Boston-born and Brooklyn-based drummer Tomas Fujiwara has been stirring things up in the New York City creative music scene for some time now, working with a wide variety of players including cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and guitarist Mary Halvorson.

His working ensemble, Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up, features Halvorson—one of the brightest voices in the new-music continuum to emerge in years—along with muscular bassist Trevor Dunn, tenor saxophonist Brian Settles and trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson.

Fujiwara is an excellent drummer, with an ultra-layered approach to ride cymbal dynamics, but it's his composing that is front and center on this recording. The Air Is Different is loaded with haunting melodies, quirky rhythms and protean solos.

Opening with Halvorson's clean-toned essay, "Lineage" transforms into a guitar ostinato when the horns enter. There is a definite nod to Wayne Shorter's oeuvre in the way Fujiwara voices his melodic ideas. Finlayson lets loose with a pithy invention as Halvorson and Fujiwara almost explode underneath with slashing, bubbling guitar and percussive storm clouds. When Settles begins, it's just him and the drummer, who teases the saxophonist's acid-toned warbling with cycles of mallet-driven rolls.

Halvorson's nervous jangles set the tone for "Double Lake, Defined." She takes the first solo, a distortion-laced spot full of excitement, handing the baton to Settles, whose grainy multiphonics and wide vibrato lead to Finlayson's Freddie Hubbard-meets-Don Cherry antics. All of this is driven by Fujiwara's pulsing hi-hat and insistent tom-toms.

"Cosmopolitan (Rediscovery)," features skronk guitar over drawn horn textures, arco bass and the leader's cartoon-like, skittering drums. Suddenly the gears shift dramatically into probing ballad mode, with all of the gorgeous contours of a Kenny Wheeler composition. Settles races warm-toned scales up the neck and Finlayson joins for a brief duel before the melody emerges to tie it all together.

The trumpeter's tart, clarion call blasts introduce "Smoke-Breathing Lights" a cappella until the huge, throaty bass enjoins. Dunn proceeds with a loose-limbed, powerful solo that travels the divide between iconic bassists Jimmy Garrison and Dave Holland. As Dunn begins to outline the form, Fujiwara propels with intricate ride cymbal articulations and Halvorson takes off with a remarkable exploration of single-note storytelling, punctuated with strands of dissonant clusters.

An asymmetrical line, doubled by guitar and saxophone, sets up "Postcards." Finlayson enters, staking out a new direction, supported by bass strumming and Fujiwara's off-kilter percolations. The piece shifts from nervous free-jazz into several moods before settling into an anthem-like cycle, fostering a brawny tenor solo followed by a fulsome trumpet episode.

Fujiwara takes his lone drum solo of the disc—firing off roiling toms and cymbal washes, and sounding almost architectural in conception. Afterwards, a beautiful melody emerges, and builds slowly, like waves crashing into the shore, completing the journey.

The Air Is Different is wildly creative music that never veers into inaccessibility. If you're wondering where jazz might be headed in the new millennium, it's a good place to start.

Track Listing: Lineage; Double Lake, Defined; For Ours; Cosmopolitan (Rediscovery); Smoke-Breathing Lights; Postcards.

Personnel: Tomas Fujiwara: drums; Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet; Brian Settles: tenor saxophone; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Trevor Dunn: bass.

Title: The Air Is Different | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: 482 Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Triple Double

Triple Double

Firehouse 12 Records
2018

buy
Triple Double

Triple Double

Firehouse 12 Records
2017

buy
 

Actionspeak

482 Music
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain CD/LP/Track Review
Runner in the Rain
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Cuarteto Europa CD/LP/Track Review
Cuarteto Europa
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections CD/LP/Track Review
Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Beggar’s Banquet 50th Anniversary Edition
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 15, 2018
Read Intelsat CD/LP/Track Review
Intelsat
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2018
Read World Gardens CD/LP/Track Review
World Gardens
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 14, 2018
Read "A History Of Nothing" CD/LP/Track Review A History Of Nothing
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 21, 2018
Read "In Stride" CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: January 29, 2018
Read "Blood" CD/LP/Track Review Blood
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 26, 2018
Read "Plays Dutch Originals" CD/LP/Track Review Plays Dutch Originals
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "The Treasury Shows Vol. 25" CD/LP/Track Review The Treasury Shows Vol. 25
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 11, 2018
Read "Beautiful Liar" CD/LP/Track Review Beautiful Liar
by Patrick Burnette
Published: May 8, 2018