Masafumi Ezaki

Trumpet Solo: Volumes 1-3

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What's an improvising trumpeter to do in a world of post-AMM masters like Greg Kelley, Axel Dörner, or Rajesh Mehta? Can outside techniques be extended any further? Well, Masafumi Ezaki makes his bid on these three discs, released on CD-R by the small Japanese label Hibari. Whereas Kelley and Dörner have a tendency, in their free improv work, to emphasize breath tones and (Kelley especially) the percussive qualities of the trumpet as a metallic object, much of Ezaki's music is louder and ruder, stressing the burbling, even flatulent sounds that the instrument is capable of. The pieces on the first two discs are all relatively short, and many of them explore a similar space, sputtering from speaker to speaker in a stream of staccato blurts and wheezes, sometimes played off against tense silences. On the third disc, in slightly longer works, Ezaki gets into more resonant and liquid territories as he investigates the subtle sounds yielded by valve manipulation. Much of this is very fascinating, reminding one oddly of John Cage's early pieces for prepared piano, though far less overtly rigorous. There are occasions when he, somehow, even gets his trumpet to sound like a strummed acoustic guitar! Ezaki may not, at this point, have been in the conceptual league of the trumpeters listed above, but proved himself an intriguing voice in the instrument's ongoing evolution.