In the highly competitive world of post modern contemporary jazz drummer Tomas Fujiwara is able to carve out a little elbow room with his sophomore effort The Air Is Different. While there is an overwhelming group dynamic for harmonious presentation which brings to mind the classic working band sound of the sixties here Fujuwara gears his compositions to the individuals in this impressive jazz collective.
A chain is only as strong as the weakest link and with the emphasis on the group dynamic Fujiwara is offering a more open ended approach with complex rhythmic patterns and lyrical development that is reminiscent of Wayne Shorter or Michael Formanek. Make no mistake, Fujiwara is creating far more than an abstract bash fest as some drummers are destined to do. Instead there are underlying grooves and sonic nuances of texture broken up with the controlled sonic fury of Fujiwara. Think Paul Motian with attitude.
Fujiwara's debut release was received with critical acclaim by the New York City Jazz Record and the sophomore release is by extension a dramatic presentation of what happens when an artist becomes the cultural by product of his or her own experiences.
"For Ours" begins as an intimate ballad that slowly morphs into a harmonic feeding frenzy among the participants. "Smoke Breathing Lights" is a percussive delight with the inspiration derived from the observation of the differences in how people walk. Living rhythm with an organic presentation.
Given that this six track release could be considered an ep by some standards sometimes you can say all you need to by approaching a composition with a more minimalistic flavor that Fujiwara seems to have mastered.
4 Stars and rising!
Tracks: Lineage; Double Lake, Defined; For Ours; Cosmopolitan; Smoke-Breathing Lights; Post Cards.
Personnel: Trevor Dunn: bass; Mary Halvorson: guitar; Brian Settles: tenor saxophone; Jonathan Finlayson: trumpet; Tomas Fujiwara: drums.