Satoko Fujii Trio: Trace A River (2008)
Pianist and composer Satoko Fujii returns with Mark Dresser (bass) and Jim Black (drums) on another exciting recording. Not only does Fujii go further in her explorations, she also shows a deeper sense of harmony, developed in tandem with her band. Her writing is varied and accentuates her skill as a composer.
In the past, Fujii, Black and Dresser have shown that intuition plays a key role in the development of their music and they continue to do so. This is a prime factor and as they formulate themes not only with a logical lucidity but also with exuberance, the music becomes immediate and all-encompassing.
Fujii plays a melodic run to introduce "Take Right." She changes tempo, adds thunderous chords and rolls along like mighty thunder. Black comes in and the conversation between him and Fujii is rife with point and counterpoint. They know where they are headed and that is a melodically saturated path. Fujii revisits the melody and extrapolates it and the trio sets off of a martial beat. It's a classic example of how they break open a mould and fill it with copiously resonating ideas.
"Kawasemi" gets the nod from Dresser's arco, slowly and lazily finding its line and groove. The pace continues in this pulse until Fujii comes on to egg the rhythm section, prodding them until they explode. Calm returns with Fujii playing a happy tune and keeping abstraction at bay. The mainstream is not placid for long, for as soon as Fujii rips into some agitating notes, the pitch becomes more pronounced. Yet within the swirl, the melody is constantly fed.
"Day After Tomorrow" gives Fujii room for introspection. She is laid back, playing with calm and letting the beauty of the tune rise gently.
This is fine material and exceptional playing, which makes for another triumphant record from the Trio.
Track Listing: Trace A River; Take Right; Manta; A Maze of Alleys; Day After Tomorrow; Kawasemi; February.
Personnel: Satoko Fujii: piano; Mark Dresser: bass; Jim Black: drums.