214

Satoko Fujii Four: When We Were There

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Satoko Fujii Four: When We Were There When We Were There is the first studio album by pianist Satoko Fujii's new quartet. Her long-running trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black was recently augmented on 2004's Live In Japan (MTCJ) by her husband and frequent collaborator, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura. Eschewing the long form, multipart compositions she is known for, she shifts her focus towards shorter, more concise pieces on this session (her eighth with Dresser and Black).

Equally proficient at inside and outside techniques, Fujii's playing ranges from driving pneumatic tone clusters to delicate neo-classical flourishes. Natsuki Tamura is a sympathetic partner; his caterwauling cries and ghostly musings have accompanied her in every conceivable lineup, from duo to full orchestra.

A formidable bassist, Mark Dresser's approach is sonically adventurous but structurally cohesive. His arco work is particularly exemplary. Jim Black's impishly volatile drumming vacillates from thunderous palpitations to spectral washes. Together, they weave a rich tapestry of interlocking polyrhythms and exotic textures.

Composed with a single formal element in mind for each individual piece, the album veers dynamically from one aspect to another. Only the lengthy closer, "A Diversion," embodies the sort of epic sweep Fujii typically employs. Improvising within such parameters, the quartet finds the heart of each tune, exploring every challenge with knowing finesse and empathetic interplay.

The opening salvo of "Sandstorm" is a riotous fanfare, the parallel opposite of the subtle tone poem "In Your Dream." The restrained grace of "Nocturne" befits its title, while "Inori" is a tender, heartfelt ballad. The title track employs the sort of resounding pop melodicism Fujii has absorbed from her work with pianist Paul Bley. Playing rich, repeated chordal refrains, Fujii drives the piece with dramatic flair as the rhythm section accents her variations with freewheeling verve.

"An Excursion" traffics in similar territory. Fujii's nuanced phrasing and Tamura's soaring trumpet forge a gorgeous melody, elevated by Dresser's sprightly melodic bass pizzicato and Black's supple polyrhythms. Conversely, "Nourishment" ripples with nervous energy, unfurling waves of percussive force.

Bolstered by the stellar contributions of her bandmates, each tune highlights a different facet of Satoko Fujii's writing, making When We Were There a brilliant summation of her gifts as both composer and improviser.

Visit Satoko Fujii on the web.

Track Listing: Sandstorm; Runaway Radio; When We Were There; In Your Dream; A Path through the Garden; Nourishment; Nocturne; The Lion of the Heart; An Excursion; Inori; A Diversion.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii: piano; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Mark Dresser: bass; Jim Black: drums.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Polystar | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "And to the Republic" CD/LP/Track Review And to the Republic
by Mark F. Turner
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Morph" CD/LP/Track Review Morph
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 2, 2017
Read "Blue And Lonesome" CD/LP/Track Review Blue And Lonesome
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Trandans" CD/LP/Track Review Trandans
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "Beloved" CD/LP/Track Review Beloved
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 14, 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!