Den japanske avantgardejazzmusiker, pianisten Satoko Fujii, bliver 60 år og fejrer det blandt andet ved at udgive et nyt album, hver måned i dette år. Heriblandt det 100 procent improviserede album, Triad, som hun har indspillet i et italiensk studie sammen med sin gamle, amerikanske makker, kontrabassisten Joe Fonda, og den til lejligheden indrullerede italiener, sopransaxofonisten Gianni Mimmo. Overraskende nok er de tres improvisationsmusik ikke på noget tidspunkt forceret. Den er nok udfordrende – for musikerne såvel som lytterne – men også graciøs og fascinerende. Og det altså til trods for det faktum, at Fujii og Fonda ikke kendte Mimmo, før de stod i Italien og skulle præstere. Og til trods for, at intet på forhånd var givet. De tre lytter, har en næsten telepatisk kontakt til hinanden, holder tilsyneladende ubesværet et fælles fokus, udforsker muligheder, udtryk, dynamikker og skaber et album, der – som avantgardejazz betragtet – er noget af det mest formfuldendte, jeg længe har hørt.
- Available Gravity
- Birthday Girl
- Accidental Partner
- No More Bugs
- Joe Melts The Water Boiler
SATOKO FUJII: piano
JOE FONDA: double bass, flute
GIANNI MIMMO: soprano saxophone
All music composed by Joe Fonda (GEMA), Satoko Fujii (BMI) and Gianni Mimmo
Recorded October 9th 2017 at Real Sound Studio, Milano, Italy
Sound Engineers: Paolo Falascone, Ettore Gilardoni
Editing, mixing, mastering: New Mastering Studio, Milano Italy
Sound Engineer: Maurizio Giannotti
Liner note by Gianni Mimmo
Artwork by Elena Raffa
Produced by Fabrizio Perissinotto
An open sky, a few generous clouds, some generative perspectives, the enchantment of dust particles sparkling in a calm, slanting light.
The contemplative threshold suddenly yields ground to intriguing densities, geometrical tria-logues, intertwining lines.
Exquisite music that deals with magic suspensions, polyhedral dances, bright complexities:
The elements are just falling into place and distant paths all relate, then.
A mystical quality lies here.
Sonic Jackson Pollocks hit the canvas of your ears…
The trio of Natsuki tamura/tp, Satoko Fujii/p and Takashi Itani/dr-perc celebrate the pianists 60th year with some free from compositions. There are unison lines of piano and horn that veer in and out on “Climb the Rapids” while some verifiable post bop grooves are created on “Swoop” while ambient and ominous moods form with squeaking horn sounds on “Yozora.” Dark chords team with brass splats on the title track and lots of crashes and kinetic moments create a traffic jam on “Prime Number.” Intuitive.
Fujii teams with Joe Fonda/b-fl and Gianni Mimmo/ss on four originals that give images of space explorations. Piano strings strum along atmospheric flute on “Available Gravity” with bowed bass and abstract ivories create a ionic distribution on ”Birthday Girl.” Lurking piano notes scurry during ”Joe Melts the Water Boiler” after the reeds screech and scrape for “No More Bugs.” Boldly going where no man has gone before?
As might be guessed, Triad is a trio album. Fujii is joined by Gianni Mimmo on soprano saxophone and Joe Fonda, who divides his efforts between flute and bass. This is the album that comes closest to an explicit acknowledgement of the entire project. Almost all of the CD is occupied by the second track, an improvisation lasting slightly more than 40 minutes entitled “Birthday Girl.”
If my familiarity with Fujii’s work were more extensive and my memory was more acute, I might be able to make a case for this piece having retrospective qualities; but my listening skills are not quite good enough to support my going out on that limb. Instead, I can draw upon my own rich past of listening to extended improvisations by jazz giants such as John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor (particularly the latter). Indeed, when I recently read Adam Shatz’ extended obituary for Taylor, which was posted on the NYR Daily Web site of The New York Review of Books, I was as impressed with his “laundry list” of “three or four generations of musicians” to have been inspired by Taylor as I was dismayed to see that Fujii had not made it onto that list.
The conditions under which Triad was recorded again deserve to be acknowledged. While Fujii had released an album with Fonda, entitled simply Duet, in October of 2016, the first time that Mimmo played with these two musicians was the night before the recording was made. This prompts two key observations. The first is that there is never any sign that Mimmo is holding back as the “junior member” of this partnership. The second is that the improvisatory techniques that unfold over the entire album, not just in “Birthday Girl,” suggests a strong bond of communication among all three of the players. If that communication was a result of little more that knowing just how to respond to attentive listening, that speaks volumes about both the technique and the inventive capacity of all three of the players.
Triad is the fifth of twelve monthly albums to be released as part of pianist-composer Satoko Fujii's extended celebration of her sixtieth birthday. It is also her second album with the legendary American bassist Joe Fonda. Duet (Long Song Records, 2016), recorded live in Portland, Maine in 2015, had brought the pair together at Fonda's request though the two were barely familiar with each other's music. Despite the album title, one of the two tracks included Fujii's trumpeter husband Natsuki Tamura who did not receive upfront billing. On Triad, the cover credits precisely reflect the presence of Italian saxophonist Gianni Mimmo whose music, coincidentally, was also unfamiliar to both Fujii and Fonda. Mimmo is not well-known outside Europe though he has toured extensively on that continent and in the US. He favors the soprano sax and has developed a reputation for his experimental work with extended techniques. He has been performing with one the UK's leading improvisational guitarists, John Russell, for ten years, and fellow Italian pianist/experimentalist Gianni Lenoci and German reed player Peter Brötzmann. Mimmo has recorded on two dozen albums as a leader or co-leader. As she did on her previous Fonda outing, Fujii anchors Triad with an exceptionally long piece, the forty two-minute "Birthday Girl." The extended piece, like some of the shorter compositions that surround it, has elements of classical chamber music, avant-garde and free jazz. With no bass or drums, and Fonda doubling on flute, much of the music is in the upper register, though Fujii uses her instrument for occasional low-end percussive effects. Other tracks such as "Available Gravity" and "No More Bugs" are more abstract; the former being ethereal and the latter, more aggressive. Triad is different from much of Fujii's work in that themes—such as they are—do not often stray as far from their core, especially on the shorter pieces that each clock in at less than five minutes. Nicely balanced between the meditative ("Accidental Partner") and the boisterous ("Joe Melts the Water Boiler"), the album has no shortage of either hypnotically discreet moments or wildly swinging passages. This unique trio seems to have evolved out of a series of chance encounters and it succeeds with completely original ideas and musicianship.
As Satoko Fujii continues her birthday record release marathon, here we find her trying on yet a new skin debuting this trio in this format. Recorded on her actual birthday, they day after they played together for the first time, this is art jazz going to logical extremes giving you the other side of early 70s creative civil rights jazz when art took the wheel instead of anger. Left leaning improv fans will find solace in the set's minimalism.
Featuring Satoko Fujii on piano, Joe Fonda on contrabass & flute and Gianni Mimmo on soprano sax. Both pianist Satoko Fujii and bassist Joe Fonda should be no strangers to most of you serious listeners. On the other hand, Italian soprano saxist Gianni Mimmo, might be a bit more obscure. He shouldn’t be to those in the know since he runs the Amirani label and has played with Lol Coxhill, Daniel Levin and Stefano Pastor. I would imagine this disc to be mostly improvised. This disc begins with hushed flute, somber soprano sax and eerie plucked strings from inside the piano. The sound is calm, yet haunting, I keep thinking that ghosts will soon enter. There is something beautiful going on here, very organic and rather pure at times. Most of this doesn’t really sound improvised since each section sounds like another scene from an ongoing series of stories. Mr. Mimmo has a superb, warm, thoughtful tone on soprano sax. Never bending his notes too far to prove how far out he can go. The music has a dreamy, enchanting quality which I find most uplifting. I reviewed another Fujii trio disc earlier today called, ‘This Is It!’ and Ms. Fujii sounds completely different. She also never goes too far out but is still most often dazzling. This disc is magical/musical improv at its best!