Exposé Online banner

This Is It! — 1538
(Libra 203 049, 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-07-20

1538 Cover art

This Is It! What is? 1538 is the melting point of iron (in degrees celsius), but 1538 is also the title of the first album by this new Satoko Fujii trio configuration featuring her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, and percussionist Takashi Itani. Itani was a member of Fujii’s “New Trio” with bassist Todd Nicholson. After their 2013 debut Spring Storm (a great one, highly recommended) Tamura joined the group, now renamed Quartet Tobira, and they recorded Yamiyo ni Karasu in 2014. After Nicholson departed, the remainder of the quartet continued playing as Tobira Minus One, but after a period of time a trio identity emerged and Fujii rechristened the group with a new name, This Is It! This time out, Fujii composed all of the material – some pieces written especially for this trio, but most were taken from a large backlog of compositions that Fujii has on file: “When I sit at the piano, I always compose for 15 minutes before I begin to practice. After doing this for more thn ten years, I have 12 books of written compositions.” When she starts to compose a new piece, she turns to those pieces as seeds for a new compositions. 1538 begins with the title track, a free jazz opening featuring some manic trumpeting that sounds very much like someone’s blood-curdling scream, all laid down before the piece starts to take shape under the guidance of Fujii’s pano. Itani’s drumming and percussion is truly spirited and gives the piano chaotic counterpoint. If that opening ride is a little too wild for you, one can always settle in on the more subtle “Riding on the Clouds” where Itani and Tamura ply a more gentle path for what seems like an improvisation flight for Fujii that gradually takes shape step by step into a beautifully melodic suite. “Climb the Rapids” takes a more tightly composed approach with some majestic and stirring piano and great passages for trumpet. The closer, “Yozora,” is the album’s longest track at just over thirteen minutes, with the first four being a stretch of near inauduble percussives, squeaks from the trumpet, and occasional single piano notes, but by the six minute mark the piece has taken shape into a recognizable form with all players firing on all cylinders. Here esecially, Tamura blows out some beautiful melodies and free-form wailing bursts of color while Fujii’s sparkling piano dances around it all. I’m not sure if there is more to come from this trio configuration or if this is it, but it does represent another magical facet of Fujii’s body of work.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura, This Is It!

Latest news

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Wigwam - Some Several Moons – Jim Pembroke and Wigwam were one of those acts who occupied a welcome place between rock and progressive music in Finland. Pembroke’s songwriting style is an easy match to much of Nektar’s...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues