Satoko Fujii: Toward, "To West"

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Satoko Fujii: Toward, "To West" Pianist Satoko Fujii refuses to be categorized. (And let me tell you, most jazz reviewers hate that.) Her playing spans the range from tight swing to avant thunder, from experiments inside the piano to tinkering with the blues. For her trio work, she has found worthy companions in exploration. TO West, her second record with bassist Mark Dresser and Jim Black, continues where 1998's Looking Out the Window left off. On To West, Dresser's work ranges from straight-ahead to full-tilt avant-garde, making full use of the tonal capabilities of his instrument. Black, who can be quite colorful in his own right, frequently demonstrates his special skill of being able to turn on a dime and mesh two completely different styles into one seemingly contiguous rhythmic flow.

The title track, which is the centerpiece of the disc, segues from a sparse, overtone-rich introduction into a bell-like statement of melody—then through delicate swinging passages into an eruption of glissandi and clusters, and so on. (Apt comparisons can be made with Don Pullen and Cecil Taylor, though it's hard to ever really pin Fujii down.) The other tracks provide briefer glimpses into all-out free improvisation, funk, and ballad feels. Listening to To West is like making a journey through an expanded world of improvised sound, with Fujii as your guide. She'll take you to a place just long enough to appreciate its inherent color and balance, then skip ahead to a new location. You either follow her or get left behind. At all times, Fujii allows plenty of room for personal expression from her fellow improvisors, so Dresser and Black play a constant game of push-and-pull with the pianist. It's not the kind of music you'd want to play in the background, but for the open-minded listener eager to hear new sounds, To West belongs up there with some of the finest trio records in recent memory.

Track Listing: Toward, "To West"; Shake up and down; Oscillation; Then I met you; The way to get there.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii, piano; Mark Dresser, bass; Jim Black, drums.

| Record Label: Enja Records | Style: Modern Jazz


CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Nearness" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness
by Doug Collette
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "The Final Concert" CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn
by Nicola Negri
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Bambulaye" CD/LP/Track Review Bambulaye
by James Nadal
Published: March 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!