All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

21

Satoko Fujii Tobira: Yamiyo Ni Karasu

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
If ever there were a restless musical spirit, it would be pianist, composer (and occasional accordionist) Satoko Fujii. The Japanese artist has issued more than sixty recordings in settings from solo to full orchestra and most everything in between. While she demonstrates virtuosic straight-ahead balladry on occasion, her preference has long leaned toward unorthodox improvisation. Fujii has recorded with Tin Hat's violinist Carla Kihlstedt, pianist Myra Melford and fronted a trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black. Much of her best work has been in collaboration with her equally inventive husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura.

Fujii's previous quartet ended its run with the excellent album Time Stands Still (Not Two Records, 2013) and the sudden death of bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu. The pianist regrouped under the banner of the Satoko Fujii New Trio bringing in bassist Todd Nicholson and drummer Takashi Itani and recorded the well-received Spring Storm (Libra, 2013). Retaining Nicholson and Itani, the group now expands to a quartet (Satoko Fujii Tobira) with the addition of Tamura and the release of Yamiyo Ni Karasu.

Whether Fujii and Tamura work together or apart, nothing is predictable about the direction they may choose. With their Gato Libre group, the focus is primarily on more lyrical aspects while other outings are distinctly free and unstructured. They excel at both forms and on Yamiyo Ni Karasu managing that compelling combination along with harder-to-define grey areas. A frequent presence on the New York scene, Nicholson has worked with the violinist Billy Bang, saxophonist Frank Lowe and bassist William Parker. Itani was part of an iconic Japanese new wave group, The Plastics.

"Hanabi" is an intriguing study in contrast with Fujii and Tamura building in opposite directions. The trumpet produces wafts of sound at the opening, later joined by Fujii providing sharp melodic contrast. As the two move in and out of focus, Fujii progressively adapts a percussive style similar to Cecil Taylor while Tamura travels through transitional phases of noise-to-melody. Nicholson provides understated segues and the piece is further disrupted by Itani's emphatic drumming. More discordant is "Run After A Shadow" where Nicholson leads in with the bowed bass, switching to pizzicato for a confrontational one-on-one with Fujii.

The tracks alternate between trio and quartet with Tamura being the rotational player. He returns on "Fuki" in an explosive way, with high-pitched bursts and Nicholson matching him on speed and dexterity. The polar opposite of "Fuki" is the subsequent "Wind Dance," opening with Fijii's elegiac piano. "Centrifugal Force" again reverts to an absence of melody before "Potential Energy" brings all the disparate pieces together in a harmonious, moderate tempo composition. The title track ends the collection, the English transplantation meaning "The Crow in the Dark Night." Conveying the appropriate imagery, it moves across a blank canvas accented with noise and melody.

Yamiyo Ni Karasu—like much of Fujii's work—is demanding. Accessibility and noise coexist and if it is disconcerting, it is also the paradigm that makes her music so unique. This album coincides with the release of Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin Ichigo Ichie and a different Fujii quartet—KAZE—titled Uminari, all on the Libra label. Each is different in indescribable ways as is Fujii herself.

Track Listing: Hanabi; Run After A Shadow; Fuki; Wind Dance; Centrifugal Force; Potential Energy; Yamiyo Ni Karasu.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii: piano; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Todd Nicholson: bass; Takashi Itani: drums.

Title: Yamiyo Ni Karasu | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Libra Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Hypnotique Sympathie

Hypnotique Sympathie

Satoko Fujii
Atody Man

Liberation

Liberation

Satoko Fujii
Aspiration

Kunpuu

Kunpuu

Satoko Fujii
Kisaragi

Thought

Thought

Satoko Fujii
Invisible Hand

Ichigo Ichie 2

Ichigo Ichie 2

Satoko Fujii
Ichigo Ichie

Potential Energy

Potential Energy

Satoko Fujii
Yamiyo Ni Karasu

Running Around

Running Around

Satoko Fujii
Uminari

Gen Himmel

Gen Himmel

Satoko Fujii
Shiki

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Atody Man

Atody Man

Libra Records
2018

buy
Bright Force

Bright Force

Libra Records
2018

buy
Ninety-Nine Years

Ninety-Nine Years

Libra Records
2018

buy
Solo

Solo

Libra Records
2018

buy
Solo

Solo

Libra Records
2018

buy
'Solo'

'Solo'

Libra Records
2018

buy

Related Articles

Read Walk The Walk CD/LP/Track Review
Walk The Walk
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Vol II CD/LP/Track Review
Vol II
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Months, Weeks and Days CD/LP/Track Review
Months, Weeks and Days
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Space Is The Place CD/LP/Track Review
Space Is The Place
by James Fleming
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Poetry in Motion CD/LP/Track Review
Poetry in Motion
by Liz Goodwin
Published: May 21, 2018
Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read "Scratches Of Spain" CD/LP/Track Review Scratches Of Spain
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "Solo a Genova" CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Lello's Italian Job Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review Lello's Italian Job Volume 2
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 1, 2018
Read "An Angel Fell" CD/LP/Track Review An Angel Fell
by Chris May
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "The Late Trane" CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Months, Weeks and Days" CD/LP/Track Review Months, Weeks and Days
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 21, 2018