The Rehearsal Studio – Triad

The Rehearsal Studio parla di TRIAD

As might be guessed, Triad is a trio album. Fujii is joined by Gianni Mimmo on soprano saxophone and Joe Fonda, who divides his efforts between flute and bass. This is the album that comes closest to an explicit acknowledgement of the entire project. Almost all of the CD is occupied by the second track, an improvisation lasting slightly more than 40 minutes entitled “Birthday Girl.”

If my familiarity with Fujii’s work were more extensive and my memory was more acute, I might be able to make a case for this piece having retrospective qualities; but my listening skills are not quite good enough to support my going out on that limb. Instead, I can draw upon my own rich past of listening to extended improvisations by jazz giants such as John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor (particularly the latter). Indeed, when I recently read Adam Shatz’ extended obituary for Taylor, which was posted on the NYR Daily Web site of The New York Review of Books, I was as impressed with his “laundry list” of “three or four generations of musicians” to have been inspired by Taylor as I was dismayed to see that Fujii had not made it onto that list.

The conditions under which Triad was recorded again deserve to be acknowledged. While Fujii had released an album with Fonda, entitled simply Duet, in October of 2016, the first time that Mimmo played with these two musicians was the night before the recording was made. This prompts two key observations. The first is that there is never any sign that Mimmo is holding back as the “junior member” of this partnership. The second is that the improvisatory techniques that unfold over the entire album, not just in “Birthday Girl,” suggests a strong bond of communication among all three of the players. If that communication was a result of little more that knowing just how to respond to attentive listening, that speaks volumes about both the technique and the inventive capacity of all three of the players.

Stephen Smoliar

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