Kaze – Uminari
(Circum-Libra 203. CD Review by Jon Carvell)
Uminari is the third album from the French-Japanese free jazz quartet Kaze. The title is a Japanese word which depicts a low frequency sound from the sea that presages a storm, and it’s an appropriate name for this disc of bold, uncompromising music. The pieces have their genesis in a 12-day tour of Japan, during which the basic framework of each chart was created and adapted. “Every day we decided to play with different ideas” remembers pianist Satoko Fujii, “Today we’ll play the piece one way, the next day a completely different way.”
With the shortest track just shy of ten minutes long, nothing is ever rushed and each idea is allowed to evolve as quickly or slowly as it must. Vents Contraires sees more than four and a half minutes of gradual build up from the effects and extended techniques of trumpeters Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost, as well as cymbal scrapes and clangs from Peter Orins, before the first of Fujii’s chords emerge.
The title track begins with Peter Orins stretching the skins of his drums whilst a dampened bass note sounds in the piano – muted in such a way that it’s still rich in overtones. Snorts and grunts follow from the trumpets, and out of this aleatoric landscape Fujii plays a haunting bassline, before Pruvost provides a countermelody. Inspiration sees noise from children’s toys combined with prepared piano and sparse drum textures, evoking Frank Zappa. Tioky Astimo, by contrast, ends with a melody that wouldn’t sound out of place on a GoGo Penguin album.
Tamura and Pruvost play the opening melody of Running Around together, but harmonise it in dissonant minor seconds. Elsewhere, Fujii plays a major chord, but it’s surrounded by screaming trumpets and crashing drums, and there is no discernible time signature. It’s like hearing a word from a foreign language which sounds the same as one from your own, but means something completely different.