132

Satoko Fujii Quartet: Vulcan

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Four forward-looking artists combine their experience and creative passion for one smokin' session. Satoko Fujii has consistently maintained that dramatic tension be applied to jazz in moderate doses. Vulcan rises and falls with a natural feeling. Like the world around us, her compositions encounter changes in mood – from violent to gentle, bold and humble – dark and mysterious one moment and sunny the next. It's an album of contrasts.

Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura employs a full, round tone to interpret the various impressions. The program consists of originals that the pianist, trumpeter, and bassist have each contributed. While every piece allows sufficient space for individual expression, the quartet's woven ensemble message takes center stage. Fujii's majestic piano outpouring takes charge. Bombastic one moment and shyly pensive the next, her improvised themes move the ensemble. Drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, who comes from a progressive rock background, combines with bassist Takeharu Hayakawa to knit a forceful rhythmic curtain around the program. Much of the session recalls Ravel.

Bowed acoustic bass and a thundering electric bass facilitate changes in mood. When Fujii describes a scenic, pastoral "Footstep," Tamura contributes birdcalls through his horn. "LH Fast," on the other hand, finds pianist and drummer exhibiting similar, percussive displays of technique. And they're in sync. Step for step, Fujii and Yoshida explore the dynamics of unison force. When Tamura and Hayakawa pursue a ballad unaccompanied, it's with lyrical expression. Half-valve squeezes and open trumpet, minor mode melodies characterize the ballad appropriately. Fujii's "Untitled" moves out on a journey through distant lands. As if the quartet were marching with a conquering army, the piece changes mood from distantly royal to helter-skelter and then placid, before moving off with another marching theme. "Junction" describes Fujii's philosophy of jazz. It's a jam session with enough room for each artist to step outside the mainstream. Hayakawa's fuzzy electric bass and Yoshida's rock beat power the quartet beyond accepted jazz limits. Several times, Fujii stops the action with piano interludes that provide a quiet oasis. Then, the four-pronged high-energy action continues. By moving consistently in and out of the mainstream, Satoko Fujii continues to be one of the most creative voices in contemporary jazz.


Track Listing: The Sun in a Moonlight Night; Incident; Ninepin; Footstep; LH Fast; Neko no Yume; Explorer; Untitled; Junction.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii- piano; Natsuki Tamura- trumpet, toys; Takeharu Hayakawa- bass; Tatsuya Yoshida- CANOPUS drums, voice.

Title: Vulcan | Year Released: 2002


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
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 "Coalesce" CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Kami Fusen" CD/LP/Track Review Kami Fusen
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Chamber Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Chamber Jazz
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Voices in the Void" CD/LP/Track Review Voices in the Void
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 3, 2017
Read "Living Water" CD/LP/Track Review Living Water
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 15, 2017
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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