Satoko Fujii

Bell the Cat!

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Within this trio setting, Satoko Fujii oversees several exercises in advanced collective improvisation that combine established principles of free jazz with an unhurried orientation toward silence that recalls John Cage, if not aspects of Zen contemplation. The idea of structure guides each performance. This is especially clear in the articulation of arranged contrapuntal parts in "Slowly and Slowly," in which the unresolved tonal aspects of the theme become instantly apparent at the piece's abrupt ending. Even the frequent abstract solo spots, such as the high-register arco bass explorations in "Confluence," fit into a context of extemporization framed by spare compositional references. Novel approaches to percussion orchestration and tonality create a complementary Eastern impression, most clearly on "Champloo" and more subtly throughout most of the album. The result overall is a tranquility achieved through understatement, quite different in character from the furious ecstasies that distinguish the work of Cecil Taylor, to whom Fujii is often and erroneously compared.

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