Fujii performed tonight at The Lily Pad in Cambridge, with quartet Kaze, behind their new CD, Tornado, kicking off a US tour. Kaze (“wind” in Japanese) is different from Fujii’s other projects (she has recorded about 60 albums), because there is no leader. All four musicians compose and improvise collectively. Natsuki Tamura, her husband, plays dark and plaintive trumpet, sputtering and dipping and looping, then spitting forth with grand sonorities. Peter Orins, French, is the drummer, who ekes powerful statements out of sharp, abrupt onslaughts, sometimes as simple as tapping a rim. Christian Pruvost, also French, of Madagascar origins, plays trumpet as well, with a funkier feel, very percussive – and is sometimes outright funny, as when he picked up a child’s noisemaker in the last number and made sounds like a baby bawling.
When I first hear Satoko Fujii’s piano, I think of sea water flowing around islands. Here, the waves hit rocks, crashing and splashing, taking strange directions and rippling with the wind. They change color with the light, roiled up now with weird seaweed.
Fujii moves in her improvisation with apparent scattered purpose. A heavy dose of rock will precede reflective pastels, hard on a free jazz break, where she attacks the board. It is exciting and disorienting. Stay with her though, and patterns develop. Random seashells are polished, and strung together on a beautiful chain.
Here are some notes on the show:
Lily Pad, September 2
Rough As Raku
Dark sputtering trumpet and Satoko working the strings inside the body spirits escape like divine wind with the touch of white keys throwing a carpet of calm over troubled waters Natsuki in jazz t-shirt pulsing tics of fractured sound and sonorities begin with the tick of the snare rim trumpets are sentries at castle gates fluttering like birds above battlements and the stuff gets funky with a hand jive swing all silent except sole brass fanfare smooth as pistons in a Mercedes over autobahn in the late summer sunset Satoko striping street with white median line and the music gets juicy and dicey like a shrill dentist’s drill rock and roll drums eat up the stage like a tomcat swallowing a goldfinch up the steps of the Tokyo temple or is it Paris or New York the Brooklyn Bridge where Rollins plays in his sleep
And the sounds awake in September morning sun slow wind to heavy skin exhilarating as Fuji breezes and now piano plays deep solo like lace and chains in a chamber sharp and cool as a knife in fresh salmon the tones get rough as raku but polished like pretty pearls from Pacific oysters cracked fresh on a diver’s naked breasts