Thursday, June 4, 2015

Kaze, with Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura, Uminari

Kaze is the quartet formed by pianist Satoki Fujii, her trumpet playing partner Natsuki Tamura, fellow trumpetist Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins. I named their Tornado a record of the year on these pages in 2013 (see the October 17, 2013 post for the review) and now this spring we have a new one, Uminari (Circum-Libra 203). It in many ways continues where Tornado left off, with a compositional framing that is strong and strongly present, with thoughtful avant solo work and a group freedom-in-structure that showcases the personalities of all four players. Everyone contributes a composition except Fujii, who gives us two.

The direction is forward moving on the modern avant front, with each piece showing its own trajectory in ways that blend new music and free jazz in a potent original mix. Fujii is a pianist that defies easy definition and her playing on this one is as much an important part of the proceedings as one might expect. This however is very much the group effort. The distinctive two-trumpet tandem of Tamura and Pruvost give a special sound when playing compositional passages and then give us two very distinctive sound colorists as they solo. Orins is a well-schooled and genuinely original drummer in how he avoids cliche and maintains percussive thrust throughout, whether playing time or in full rubato mode.

Put the whole thing together with the compositional motives, moods and varied sequencing of who plays and who lays out and you get something avant in ways that are well thought through. It all keeps the serious listener busy and fascinated, involved from moment-to-moment following the many event developments and their very musical and often unexpected twists and turns.

Another great one from Kaze! Give this one your ears and it will give back in kind.

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