Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and her new quartet ma-do, consisting of trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, Norikatsu Koreyasu on bass and drummer Akira Horikoshi reveal their debut album, Heat Wave.
Without relying on traditional Japanese folk composition, Fujii composes all nine of the tracks on this album. Fourth song in, "Ring a Bell" has what could be Natsuki Tamura’s finest moment on the album. What really stands out here is the rest of the quartet, the way they accompany Tamura, a melancholy effect.
One of the albums noticeable effects is the contrast between light or soft and heaviness. Pianist Fujii at times is modal, within the same school as Bill Evans and at other times is hard pounding as say Thelonious Monk or Art Tatum.
"Mosaic" starts off with bass. Sounds like the bass is plucked. Bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu is an accomplished bassist. Koreysau moves through many modes, subtle to venturesome.
What seems to be just as important as the music is the space between the music. Fujii explains, 'Ma-do means 'window' in Japanese. Also, the word ‘ma’ means refers to the silence between the notes. I wanted the name of the band to show how the music opens to the outside (just like a window) and the silence has probably more meaning than notes.'
For Satoko Fujii and her new quartet, Heat Wave is a heat wave. From the tom and snare on "Beyond the Horizon" to the arco bass on "To the Skies", Ma - do is not a window you keep passing, it is a window you should open and look out of.