Monday, May 24, 2021

Satoko Fujii Tokyo Trio, Moon On the Lake, with Takashi Sugawa, Iuetsu Takemura


I cannot recall hearing a Satoko Fujii album that I did not like, though the instrumentation can vary widely and there have been quite a few albums. Still she consistently realizes music at a high level of artistry, imagination, and advancement. That does not mean I regard them all equally. Some stand out even at this superior level. That is the case with  a Satoko Fujii Tokyo Trio album I've been enjoying lately, Moon On the Lake (Libra Records 203-065).

What puts this one in a very good place is in part Satoko's utilization of the trio format to allow a lot of breadth of expression So we get a nicely complex composition, "Hansho," to start things off, then there are balladic moments, a piano solo spotlight, free sections and so forth. Her running partners on this one--Takashi Sugawa on bass and cello, and Iuetsu Takemura on drums, make crucial contributions to the overall matrix that mark a well considered originality, a spontaneous sympathy, where articulation is directly to the point like a Haiku or somewhat more expansive, depending on the moment.

The album from first-to-last has an omni-directional unfolding that characterizes Satoko at her best. The a-to-b-to-c sequence makes the album excel in the interconnected deliberation. Such is the case with the five segment sequence that comprises the totality of the album. The overt busy, brilliant freedom of "Keep Running" has perhaps a pivotal role to play in moving us from the starting sequences to the end point of the closing title cut and its contemplative Zen-ish facticity of thereness.

Satoko and her talented trio plug into the vocabulary of avant and free jazz yet manage to utilize space, plus a variety of means and articulation to be original and meaningful throughout. This is a thing of beauty, a beautifully present trio that speaks to us now and no doubt will stand the test of time in the future I do believe.

Listen to this and get a feel for what is happening today, what is worthy, coming at us  right now! Satoko Fujii remains very much herself whether interacting freely with the trio or setting up then executing compositional elements that act as guideposts and help our listening selves to situate in the vast, sprawling sound matrix. Bravo.

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