Thursday, January 6, 2022

Francois Carrier, Japan Suite, with Matsayo Koketsu, Daisuke Fuwa, Takashi Itani


The good news about life is that there is always encouraging trends in new music to be had in the world out there. The less good news of course is that life can be challenging these days, whether in terms of health, wealth or universal strivings for happiness and parity in a world where these are often objectives more so than givens..

This blog space of course celebrates the good things, the music worthy of our attention. Today there is a new one by Canadian alto sax master Francois Carrier--the album Japan Suite (NoBusiness Records NBCD 125). 

It is a lively Free quartet date with Carrier plus three Japanese Avant Improv champions--consisting of fellow alto saxophonist Matsayo Koketsu, double bassist Daisuke Fuwa, and drummer Takashi Itani.

This is a recording of a live gig in Japan in 2019. There are eight segments in all, each a collective improvisation. The ear as it hones in on the music gets naturally attracted to the contrasts between the two altos, Masayo often in extended technique expressive freedom territory, inspired and branching out onto stream-of-musicality events nicely. Francois at times matches him sound-color-for-sound-color, other times drives his alto into his invigorating classic tone flurry of flowing note clusters He comes through always with vividly imaginative advanced connectivity, whether it be the color end or the noteful end of his innovative musical self.

Bassist Fuwa and drummer Itani come across with lots of locked-in free energy backdrops that spur the altos ahead and remain interesting and essential as a rhythm section, worthy of attention in listening as much as the saxes, and in the end filling out the totality of musical movement in rewarding ways. 

Each improvisational segment rings out with expressions exploratory, high energy, or contemplative in turn. Carrier to my mind is an essential altoist and these Japanese virtuosi make perfect artistic-expressive partners. Strongly recommended.