Monday, May 13, 2013

Bridges, Andrea Centazzo, Akira Sakata, Kiyoto Fujiwara

Bridges is the right name for a recent Ictus recording (162). That's because it puts together a trio from widely diverging geographic origins: the Italian master percussionist-drummer Andrea Centazzo with Japanese improv vets Akira Sakata (alto, clarinet, vocals) and Kiyoto Fujiwara (double bass).

This was the set they played live at JAPZITALY in Milano, a concert to benefit children in Japan. With the exception an allusion to the "Stella by Starlight" theme towards the end, this is a wholly extemporized set. "Bridge #1" was a free ballad that gave Sakata the chance to get a little out lyricism in before his playing got more into a noteful wailing. Andrea and Kiyoto follow sympathetically and raise the temperature of the music as the alto solo climbs.

"Bridge #2" finds Akira playing some pointedly limber and inspired clarinet while Andrea gets into sustained sounds from gongs and cymbals and Kiyoto holds forth arco.

"Bridge #3" has some fine Centazzo wide-range sound coloring and forward charging alto and arco. "Bridge #4" gives us a chance to hear some dramatically out vocalizing from Sakata that is well complemented by extended orchestral percussion and an attractive recurring bass motif.

"Bridge #5" ends the set nicely with some free pulsations that center in and out of the "Stella" theme. It's a Sakara tour de force but everybody by now is relaxed and moving forward with good feeling.

So that's the set. It may not be the free endeavor of the century, but it is very nice to hear these three get a successful and varied series of improvs going. All three are strongly inside of the zones they have carved out for themselves. Together they form some beautifully lively Bridges! Listen and you'll hear it.

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