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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nobuyasu Furuya - Stunde Null (Chitei Records, 2010) ****

I was quite enthusiastic about Japanese reedist Nobuyasu Furuya's "Bendowa", released last year on Clean Feed. He confirms his skills with his second album as a leader, here with a trio and a quintet line-up, recorded earlier this year in Portugal.

The core of the band is Furuya on tenor saxophone, flute, and bass-clarinet, Hernani Faustino on double bass, and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums. The trio kicks off with full power, Brötzmann-like, but relatively fast the tone of the piece shifts to more sensitive playing, with the volume toned down and the notes getting sparser, enveloping silence like a warm blanket, yet again not for long, raw blasts kick in, heavy pumping rhythms and gloomy rumbling, only to fall silent again, with Furuya switching to flute, and when the intensity keeps changing, so is the flute replaced by the bass clarinet.

On the second piece, the trio is enlarged with Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, and Eduardo Lala on trombone. Pinheiro sets the piece, with a long angular intro that shifts to post-bop mode, more expansive and Coltrane-esque, yet more modern inspirations pierce through the wall of sound like a dagger, and the piece collapses halfway into more dangerous uncharted waters, with rapid-speed interactions, slowed down by the trombone that enters like a breeze, calming the waters and the spirits, but as you might expect, this is just the calm  before the storm, which is again broad-sweeping and expansive.

When I usually see that an album has several line-ups, I am inclined to let my preconceived judgment kick in and think that unity will surely not be preserved, yet luckily these biases are more often than not shattered, as is the case with this album. True, there is a difference, yet it does not disrupt the overall sound and approach.

Excellent music by excellent musicians.

© stef