Pianist-composer Satoko Fujii has made a name for herself as a prophet of eclectic modern jazz. Her latest quartet, Ma-do features herself on piano, her husband Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, Norikatsu Koreyasu on bass, and Akira Horikoshi on drums. Fujii tells in a recent press release, "Ma-do means ‘window’ in Japanese. Also ‘ma’ means the silence between notes. I wanted the name of the band to show how the music opens to the outside (just like a window) and that silence has probably more meaning than notes."
It is during the moments of silence and sparseness that avails the listener to contemplate the musical configurations in Ma-do’s latest release, Heat Wave. The quartet’s spontaneous interfacing is exceptionally dynamic and oftentimes plunges into the realm of schizophrenia as maddening piano keys pellet the rhythmic grooves like along the title track, and haunting trumpet patterns echo sinisterly through "Beyond The Horizon." The quartet creates a cerebral-like miasma that challenges the listener’s thought processes to comprehend strange sonic patterns and rigid textures. Fujii plucks at the inside strings of her piano along "Mosaic" producing a doom-like effect as the trumpet twirls usher in dynamic bursts and the traipsing of her piano keys bask the tune in eccentrically angled curls. The howls from the trumpet in "Ring A Bell" are cuffed in low-pitched bass chords constructing a bulbous density, while the trumpet’s flabbergasted toots are flint by manic keyboards in "Tornado" creating openings of disorder and dissonance. The throngs of crazed eruptions going off along "The Squall in the Sahara" cause instruments to smash into each other as the trumpet hovers above in the upper registers of the melee. The erratic chord projections along "Spiral Staircase" blossom and retract abruptly and randomly, while the mixture cools to a mellow drift along the scenic landscapes of "In the Skies."
Ma-do’s album is loaded with compositions that open up new sonic possibilities, especially the plucking of the strings inside the piano, which lead the listener into believing that layers of strings are incorporated into the arrangements. The versatility in Ma-do’s melodic fibers and sensibilities show ingenuity and an affinity for the unknown. Of course, once they conquer these new sound patterns, they never return, but go off into new lands of sonic exploration.