SATOKO FUJII — Satoko Fujii Ma-Do: Time Stands Still (review)

SATOKO FUJII — Satoko Fujii Ma-Do: Time Stands Still album cover Album · 2013 · Avant-Garde Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
J-Man
With the untimely death of bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu after the recording of Time Stands Still, the third album from Satoko Fujii Ma-Do marks the end of this unique Japanese quartet. Led by prolific jazz pianist Satoko Fujii, this 2013 release explores avant-garde and experimental stylings while remaining under the guidance of a melodic and acoustic style of jazz. It's a unique album for sure, and although it may be tough to appreciate for fans of more conventional music, listeners with an ear for experimental sounds should enjoy this sonic journey.

Beginning with the frantic screeching of an acoustic bass before evolving into a frenzied improvisation centered around oddly melodic phrasing and dissonant chord structures, the opening tune (entitled "Fortitude") gives a pretty good idea of what you can expect from the rest of the record. Time Stands Still feels pretty esoteric at times, but the strong improvisations and group interplay keep the album from sounding "avant-garde for the sake of being avant-garde".

Time Stands Still strikes me as an inspired work created by a quartet of musicians with some real chemistry between each other. Although it's a shame we'll probably never hear another album from Satoko Fujii Ma-Do, this group has made a strong exit statement with Time Stands Still.
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