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Kaze: Unwritten


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Kaze: Unwritten
Improvised music is an acquired taste, to be sure. But for those who dote on the spontaneous, the liberating sensation that arises from interplay in the moment is nothing less than addictive. In that regard, then, Kaze's fittingly titled Unwritten, a wholly spontaneous piece of work, holds a bounty of fascination.

Presenting a formidable challenge to listeners at the very outset of the record, this foursome proffers an initial track, "Thirteen Years," that is just shy of thirty-seven minutes long. Effectively setting the tone for what follows, the cut with Satoko Fujii striking deliberate, isolated piano notes.

While she is not the leader in this democratic enterprise, the woman nevertheless makes her presence felt, albeit in a self-effacing fashion. Drummer Peter Orins, trumpeter/vocalist Natsuki Tamura and trumpeter/flugelhornist Christian Pruvost enter in similarly purposeful succession, on their respective instruments; the eventual joining of the four is akin to hearing a time-elapsed progression of deceptively random motifs instrumental crystallizing into coherence.

In a gesture of idiosyncrasy that mirrors the musicianship here, each successive cut on Unwritten is roughly half the length of its predecessor. Slyly, Kaze seeks to reward the patience of those who deign to decipher what goes on beyond the aforementioned commencement, especially as the very titles of both, "We Waited" and "Evolving," might well be self-referential designations of the process(es) in play throughout this hour-plus.

When Tamura's voice enters on the former, it becomes yet another musical texture unto itself. As with the opening cut, false stops are merely the shifting of gears to initiate more and different melodic and rhythmic themes during the latter number. The subsequent denouements evolve through suggestion more than emphatic punctuation, in keeping with the insinuating (rather than overwhelming) overall tenor of the music here.

Shifting from lighter tones of the horns to deeper keyboard and percussion intervals are almost as imposing as the cover images inside and outside this package. But clear-cut communication is paramount throughout, so there are minimal wasted exchanges to distract from this quartet's mastery of the tension/release dynamic.

Ergo, the members of this unit are familiar enough with each other to intuit nascent patterns upon which to either embroider or use as springboards to other equally novel patterns of elaboration. This May 2023 live recording from La Malterie in Lille France, mixed and edited by Orins, then mastered by Mike Marciano, captures the finest of detail within such segments.

While the clarity of Fujii's piano, in purely sonic terms, is no greater than the trumpets, those notes resonate the deepest through her indomitable command of the instrument. As such, Satoko Fujii is the bellwether, if not the dominant force on this LP. She does not intimidate her peers, however, as she is too humble a collaborator to commit that faux pas.

Witness the call and response in the banging of drums and blowing of horns on "We Waited" or the clattering near the close of "Evolving." The latter interlude sounds like the rumbling intimations of a new piece—perhaps even a segue to the first cut here—and thus stands as a latent hint of the circular logic intrinsic to Unwritten.

While patience has never proven a greater virtue than when absorbing the intrinsically dramatic interaction between the four members of Kaze, the rewards in doing so are proportionately deep.

Track Listing

Thirteen Years; We Waited; Evolving.


Additional Instrumentation

Christian Pruvost: flugelhorn; Natsuki Tamura: voice; Peter

Album information

Title: Unwritten | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Libra Records


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