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Satoko Fujii — Bell the Cat!
(Tokuma TKCB-72369, 2002, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2003-08-01

Bell the Cat! Cover art

Pianist Satoko Fujii has done more than pay her dues in her native homeland of Japan. In thirteen previous solo releases the performer has refined her combined style of free jazz interpolation as well as pushed forward into more international territory within the US. Bell the Cat! finds the tumultuous assailant confronting melodic and soloing capabilities with equal doses of restraint and resolution. The opening piece is possibly the best representative of this approach with an adept rhythmic accompaniment. A path through the chaos doesn’t have to be resolved all at once; there are many moments of ambiguity and struggle that alludes to the best of free jazz. Mark Dresser is on upright bass having spent time on the free jazz circuit with John Zorn and Anthony Braxton. Drummer Jim Black also has an impressive resumé, ranging from work with Kenny Wheeler and Dewey Redman to Tim Berne. The trio has really come along with this third collective outing, as time does wonders for intricacy and intimacy. As an example, “Confluence” is a soliloquy that begins with rattling percussion before Dresser’s persistent bass pulse enters the fold. After Fujii enters with her creepy outburst, the piece increases in drama and tension making it one of the most satisfying and incendiary. In direct contrast the follow-on track, “Foot Step,” is a careful resolution shrouded in clever deception. Overall, this trio is a must-see live monster that needs be seen to be fully appreciated.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 27, 2002 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii

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