On Atody Man, Kaze, the cooperative quartet featuring Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, French trumpeter Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins, continues one of the most captivating ongoing musical conversations in jazz. As they enter their eighth year together, they find themselves enjoying a group rapport that few other bands share. Using minimal yet distinctive compositional frameworks from each band member, they engage in deep musical exchanges full of surprise and wit. It’s almost as if they were talking to one another without words.
“Yes, we do talk in music,” Fujii says of the quartet. “Natsuki and I cannot speak French and Peter and Christian don’t speak Japanese, but we can talk in music. This always amazes me!”
“The compositions have always been an excuse for the improvisation,” says drummer Orins. “We are very different in the way we write music, but I think that we compose to create a place to communicate with each other.”
Their musical communication is rich with a huge vocabulary of sounds and historical and stylistic references, all freely called upon and used in stunning dialogues among master musicians. For instance, the trumpeters playfully spar to comic effect on Fujii’s “Moving” but begin Orins’s “Hypnotique Sympathie” with carefully controlled and modulated long tones that establish a somber ritualistic atmosphere. (Pruvost is heard on the right, Tamura on the left throughout the album.) Fujii is equally mercurial, waxing Chopinesque toward the end of “Hypnotique Sympathie,” then playing spare, lyrical lines on “Inspiration 2,” and rhythmically engaged in a percussive duet with Orins on “Moving.” Orins is a constant source of surprise and inspiration throughout, orchestrating textures, prodding and driving, or adding sparse rhythms as the interplay among his bandmates requires. On this album, they have broadened the music with more use of space and silence than on previous discs.
The collective improvisations display some of the deepest communication among the quartet on the album. They seem to finish each other’s thought’s on “Meta-Blizzard,” in a richly textured four-way conversation that veers from abstract sound to melodic phrases and from languid tempo to high energy with graceful ease. The quiet “Atody Man” (Malagasy for “egg man”) features a hushed but intense conversation among all four players. The concentrated listening, familiarity bred of several years of working together, and the seamless use of both conventional and extended techniques give all of Kaze’s music an exhilarating sense of freedom.
Over the course of three previous quartet releases, plus June (HeliX 2017), an album by an extended sextet version called Trouble Kaze, and a guest appearance with Fujii’s Orchestra Tokyo’s Peace (Libra 2016), Kaze continues to amaze listeners with evolving and emotionally deeper music. “I think we all feel more and more free the longer we play together,” says Orins, “We always push our own limits, and play more and more in the present.”
“I have to say, I have so much fun playing compositions by Peter, Christian, and Natsuki, which are totally different from mine,” says Fujii. “This group inspires me so much.”
“Atody Man” will be released by French label Circum-Disc on February 23rd 2018.
1. Hypnotique Sympathie
4. Morning Glow
5. Inspiration 2
6. Atody Man
Satoko Fujii: Piano
Natsuki Tamura: Trumpet
Christian Pruvost: Trumpet
Peter Oruns: Drums