JAZU: Jazz from Japan. Review. Masahiro Sayama New Trio. B'Ridge PDF Stampa E-mail
Scritto da Nico Conversano   
Domenica 09 Dicembre 2018 00:00

JAZU: Jazz from Japan. Review. Masahiro Sayama New Trio. B'Ridge

King Records - KICJ-786 - 2018

Masahiro Sayama: piano
Ryoji Orihara: electric fretless bass
Yasushi Fukumori: drums

(This review is dedicated to the memory of pianist Masahiro Sayama (1953 - 2018) who passed away shortly after this article was completed)

When a renowned and appreciated veteran of Japanese jazz scene meets two of its best new exponents, the result is one of the most interesting album recently coming from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Pianist Masahiro Sayama, as a matter of fact, has found new lymph in this project in which he has put all of his experience at the service of two valuable and eclectic young guardians of the rhythm section, the brilliant electric bass player Ryoji Orihara and the impressive drummer Yasushi Fukumori, who in response, both give to their leader some regenerative inspiration.
In this work Sayama comes to a change of course in his music, compared to his previous illustrious past as jazz pianist as well as skillfull arranger and composer in many music fields, to embrace a definitely modern perspective, while enjoyably being influenced by the music view of his new partners.
This album named "B'Ridge" estabilishes, as suggested by the title itself, a bridge between generations, styles and approaches creating a whole larger than the sum of its parts and in which each components brings with it an essential contribution to achieve the final outcome.
In this recording a greater emphasis is given to groove and rhythmic architecture on which most of the tunes are build upon. Such is the case of the opening tune Ballad for Yasushi, a dedication from pianist to drummer, in which takes place an almost antithetical texture between Fukumori's rock metres and the peaceful notes dispensed by Sayama, while Orihara underlines this dialogue making use of one of his favourite technique on the instrument, a small bow drawn across the strings that generates a rough wall of sound.
Also the solid Tetsu to Hibana and the mutable Ndereba no Tsuisou, tripartite homage to Kenian marathon runner Catherine Ndereba, are further confirmations of their rhythmic synergies.
After distributing the roles in a democratic regime, the leader leaves plenty of room to his fellows, especially to bass player Ryoji Orihara here featured also as musical director of the album and co-author of some original tunes. Among them stands out Shinayakana yubi wo mochinasai, an inspired composition based upon a smart harmonics line of Orihara's inseparable electric fretless bass that, alone, would worth the purchase of the album.
Also penned by Orihara, Space Bridge and Ningen ga Sunderu, are among the most convincing compositions of the session, perfectly balanced between music form and great melodic sensibility. Sayama, on the other hand, uses the music to convoy his personal world view and life experiences made of travels, readings and meditations on the meaning of life, letting all of them flow into his triptych umi, sora and riku, three brief reflections in music that, placed in the middle of the album, serve as a break in the rhythmic tension produced until that moment, loosening the structures and setting free the executions in fluid portraits of consciousness.
To mark the mutual influence anabled by this collaboration concurs Lullaby of Bassist, this time a tribute by Sayama to Orihara, imagined as a delicate cradlesong in 6/4 suggested by the listening of some Beethoven's sonatas, and Three Women, an underestimated Jaco Pastorius' composition that Orihara, ardent admirer of the legendary bass player, decides to let the leader performing it alone in solitary beauty, aware that this composition would have just needed nothing more.
The album B'Ridge reveals itself as a multi-faceted work in which prevails a fulfilled equilibrium between leadership and teamwork, music writing and improvisation, exchange and sharing, that originates an uncommon emotional connection amidst musicians enlightened by a relationship erected upon a real and solid idea of interplay.

Related Links:
"B'Ridge" teaser trailer: youtube.com/watch?v=agCzvjLh79k
Shinayakana yubi wo mochinasai: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWJEUJ_3FWI
Space Bridge: youtube.com/watch?v=chNxM2E4ymw
Ningen ga sunderu: youtube.com/watch?v=ajiDu9ypV9M

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