14 Satoko FujiiJet Black
Satoko Fujii Tokyo Trio
Libra Records 203-073 (librarecords.com)

The paint chips and the frame splinters, allowing the textures to deepen, the gradient to sharpen. The level of tonal and timbral depth that has been achieved on this recording is incredible; you can constantly sense the impact of strings on neck, finger upon key, hammer upon trembling copper and reverberations within receptacle. So strikingly vibrant are the gestures of each musician, each exchange of spontaneous notions leaves the impression of rainfall on one’s shoulders. 

Yes, Satoko Fujii is a legend in the field of improvised music, but her playing and creative direction here pushes that stature into something that feels more meaningful and interpersonal. This is dialogue that lays the processes of its interlocutors bare, enticing the listener to guess and guess, but never making the anticipation laborious, only subliminal. 

During the first few minutes of Sky Reflection, Takashi Sugawa takes a simple extended technique – the act of dragging the horse hair of the bass bow perpendicular to the string rather than across it – and whips up a feast for the ear, a roaring sound vacuum populated with a bouquet of rasps and scrapes. It is out of this jagged tranquility that a secondary drone materializes, one that is low and drawing ever nearer. Ittetsu Takemura’s first drumstick drops, suddenly assuming the form of that tension created, while Sugawa’s arco dusts your spine. The paint deepens and the frame sharpens, allowing the textures to chip, the gradient to splinter.

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