Title: Time Stands Still
By: Satoko Fujii Ma-Do
Released in: 2014
Catalog No: MW 897-2
Price : 12 EUR
1. Fortitude [09:30]
2. North Wind And The Sun [10:32]
3. Time Flies [06:58]
4. Rolling Around [02:55]
5. Set The Clock Back [05:21]
6. Broken Time [09:41]
7. Time Stands Still [07:31]
Satoko Fujii - piano
Natsuki Tamura - trumpet
Norikatsu Koreyasu - bass
Akira Horikoshi - drums
All compositions by Satoko Fujii - Koro music(BMI)
Recorded June 22, 2011 by Joe Marciano
Mixed on October 3, 2011 by Mike Marciano, at Systems Two, New York
Mastered on October 6, 2011 by Scott Hull at Scott Hull Mastering, New York
Satoko Fujii ma-do is a quartet I formed in October 2007 with Natsuki Tamura, Norikatsu Koreyasu, and Akira Horikoshi. Though the format turned out to be a standard one-horn quartet, I wasn’t thinking about instrumentation when I invited these members to join me. Any time two or more people gather together, they create a “society.” What I wanted to do was make a society composed of these four individuals. I was absolutely sure that a very interesting society would arise from their particular combination of musical abilities and personalities.
In the four years of its existence, ma-do became a band that far exceeded my expectations. Every time we performed, the sounds the group produced from the charts I provided never failed to astonish me. Performing with ma-do always stimulated and inspired me, and gave me the energy to create new compositions. To be honest, I began to wonder how we could possibly maintain such intensity in the future. As we entered the year 2011 we were doing more and more gigs: a Hokkaido tour in April, an Australian tour in early June, back to Tokyo for two nights in mid-June and then off for a North American tour, during which this recording was made in New York.
To allow room for Norikatsu to use his bow freely during the recording, we had the studio mic placed where the bow wouldn’t hit it. Joe the engineer worried that we would be unable to get a good sound with the mic at that position. But when he went back to the control room, he was amazed – he’d never heard a bassist who could make his instrument project like that, he said.
At this stage, our music seemed to be leaping to a new level with every performance. Only a few days after recording in New York, on the final day of our North American tour at the Vancouver Jazz Festival, our collective sound was more intense than ever. That September, we were exchanging frequent emails to work out the details for a European tour in November. Right up until Norikatsu’s sudden death on September 23, 2011, we were emailing each other about air tickets and itineraries. His wife was planning to come with us to Europe.
Bandmates have a strange relationship. In ma-do, we didn’t go out drinking or take excursions together. It wasn’t like hanging out with your best friends. But when we played music, we knew we were communicating on a deep level. You can’t use music to talk about specific things, but you can share something even more profound. The four of us in ma-do did plenty of touring together, but during our time off the road we got together for dinner exactly once. We never visited each others’ homes, either. But there were times when I felt closer to my bandmates than to anyone else I know.
The sounds musicians make in performance reveal everything about themselves as human beings. A single sound will tell you more about what kind of person the performer is than all the talk in the world. In his music and in his heart, Norikatsu Koreyasu was someone without a single lie in him. A musician without lies – I have never met anyone else like that.
Early one morning about a month after Norikatsu died, he appeared to me in a dream. He didn’t say much – just, “It was fun playing together. But I have to go now” – and then he left. When I awoke, I felt calm and at peace.
And yet I wish he had lived longer. I wanted to play with him more. It’s such a shame, such a waste, that this third album by ma-do has to be our last.
This music was recorded during a period when the band was reaching new heights of intensity with every day. I hope listeners will take these once-in-a-lifetime sounds to heart.
July 19, 2012
This is the third disc from Satko Fujii's Ma-Do quartet which includes the same personnel as the previous discs and sadly it will be the last of this version of the quartet since bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu has since passed away. This disc starts with an intense bowed bass solo/intro which seems like a perfect way to remember our fallen hero. Ms. Fujii has a way of bringing out the best in her band-mates by writing piece which push them into challenging waters where they will either sink or swim upstream. One of Ms. Fujii's strengths is the way she often has two musicians playing one part with the other two playing another interconnected part. On "Fortitude" the piano and drums play one tight line while the bass and trumpet play another line, slowly all four coming together into one compact quartet and then erupting freely. Satoko's longtime ace-in-the-hole is her husband and constant collaborator, trumpet great Natsuki Tamura. Natsuki is a gifted soloist and always plays his parts perfectly when soft or eruptive or anywhere in between. Both Satoko and Natsuki toss off creative sparks, back & forth, each pushing the other higher and higher. Just when you think a solo by Satoko couldn't get any better, here comes Natsuki riding the waves and pulling off another unbelievable conclusion. Not that this disc is all fireworks, Satoko and the rst of the quartet know when to lay back and deal with suspense and space. Ms. Fujii occasionally plays inside the piano with some object. She does not do that very often yet only when it is needed to add certain spice or a bent note swerve. 'Time Stands Still' is an extraordinary CD that shouldn't be taken for granted as it doesn't get any better than this.
- Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
Dopo Heat Wave e Desert Ship, questo Time Stands Still è il terzo CD del Satoko Fujii Ma-Do, quartetto tutto giapponese nato nell'ottobre 2007. Purtroppo sarà anche l'ultimo nella medesima formazione, in quanto il bassista Norikatsu Koreyasu è improvvisamente deceduto il 23 settembre 2011, esattamente tre mesi dopo che Time Stands Still fu inciso a New York. Il gruppo si era lentamente coeso e, soprattutto grazie a tour in Giappone, Australia e Stati Uniti nei primi sei mesi del 2011, ebbe modo di affinare i meccanismi dell'interplay.
Le sette composizioni, tutte a firma della leader, presentano varie strutture compositive e improvvisative, partendo a volte timidamente da situazioni sfrangiate e flebili per poi irrobustirsi via via in temi e sviluppi più densi e mossi. Prevalgono comunque atmosfere austere, meditabonde, in cui il piano della Fujii elabora progressioni ora intimiste di grande suggestione ora turbinose e percussive. L'aiuto più congeniale lo riceve da basso e batteria, dall'incedere concentrato, fosco e umorale: risultano molto suggestive le battute finali di "Time Stands Still," affidate ad un dialogo intimo fra piano e contrabbasso. L'eloquio della tromba di Natsuki Tamura, un po' monocorde e non molto personale, non inserisce invece guizzi particolarmente apprezzabili.
In definitiva si tratta di un CD di qualità, ma che lascia anche un po' di amaro in bocca. Infatti è fuor di dubbio la statura della Fujii come pianista, compositrice e leader, ma la musica di questo quartetto non lascia un segno profondo: una musica indubbiamente equilibrata ed elegante, ponderata nelle sue evoluzioni conchiuse, estremamente coerente, di evidente spessore ed eseguita con rigore... una musica tuttavia che non presenta invenzioni strutturali, melodiche e dinamiche sorprendenti.
Libero Farnè, All Abaout Jazz Italia