Spring Storm (Libra; 2013)
Todd Nicholson (bass)
Takashi Itani (drums)
Satoko Fujii is one of the most prolific composers/pianists on the avant garde scene. I've really loss track of how many records she has in total. Even just in the last year! But what I can say is, every record is a different adventure.
On her latest, Spring Storm, with new trio featuring Itani and Nicholson, she still explores some complicated yet beautiful structures in various settings. This allows the compositions to develop very organically and shift in and out of improvisation and melody.
"Convection" slowly builds in this manner. The slow pouring of Fujii's notes and the pulsating tones from Nicholson all rubbing against the mulit-layered patterns emenating from Itani's kit--give the listener something to experience at every turn. Especially the closing moments of the piece when Fujii and Itani have some forceful exchanges that bleed right into "Fuki" which allows Nicholson and Fujii and repeat the conversation in a different mode. Once the entire trio joins in during "Fuki," it becomes feverish and fun. Nicholson's performance is terrific and energizing.
"Tremble," the most ("slightly") direct piece on the album is a soothing introspective piece that guides the listener out from the long journey of soundscapes. A perfect conclusion to a delicate and diverse story laid out brilliantly by it's composer.
Again, in just a few songs, Satoko Fujii has show why she is one of most exploratory and vital composers in the avant garde movement today. Spring Storm is excellent opening example and actually a good starting point form those not already familiar with her material. Highly Recommended.