248

Satoko Fujii: Toward, "To West"

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
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,

Personnel: Satoko Fujii

Title: Toward, "To West" | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Enja Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Skyjack" CD/LP/Track Review Skyjack
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "San José Suite" CD/LP/Track Review San José Suite
by Nigel Campbell
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Tyrant Lizard" CD/LP/Track Review Tyrant Lizard
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees And Birds" CD/LP/Track Review Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees And Birds
by John Sharpe
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "On Parade In Parede" CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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