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Satoko Fujii Tokyo Trio

Moon on the Lake

Review by Gary Hill

I've been reviewing quite a few releases featuring Satoko Fujii lately. Her piano work is always inventive and unique. Here she's joined by Takashi Sugawa on stand-up bass and cello and Ittetsu Takemura on drums. The music here doesn't fit under progressive rock in any traditional sense of the word. It is, however, very experimental and artsy. That fits. It's often not far removed from the Rock In Opposition movement. Combining jazz and classical music in unusual ways and freeform arrangements, this is often hard to describe in a standard track by track review, but it's never trite or redundant. It's always intriguing, too.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Hansho
Piano brings this into being. The whole cut begins a classy exploration from there as the other instruments join. I dig the bass solo section on this quite a bit. This really gets crazed at times as it continues. It has a good balance between louder and more sedate movements. There are some sections that drive with a classically inspired and rather rocking edge. Yet, there are plenty of freeform jazz concepts at play, too.
Wait For The Moon To Rise
Spacey and rather ambient weirdness starts this track and holds it via variants. This is very freeform and artsy. It does get more powerful as it continues, but in general has less dynamic range than the opener did. It's no less compelling, though.
Aspiration
Piano start this. The cut has a lot of classical elements at play. This piece gets quite bombastic at times, but also lands in the mellower zone at other points. It's back in the wide dynamic range zone. At over 18-minutes long, it's also the epic of the disc. It is suitably freeform. I'd say there is just as much classical music built into this as there is jazz.
Keep Running
A percussion workout brings this number and in and holds it for quite some time. Bass joins after a time as the number continues to evolve and grow. This gets pretty driving at times and really does cross over toward progressive rock zones.
Moon On The Lake
This comes in spacey and rather trippy and works out from there. This has some intriguing contrasts. There are mellower, sparser sections, but there are also louder ones. While so much of this is freeform and rather strange, this has some of the most melodic and mainstream passages of the whole disc, too.
 
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