Be prepared for anything!

Libra Records CD 209-071

Satoko Fujii, Piano; Ingrid Laubrock, tenor sax; Sara Schoenbeck, bassoon; Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet; Natsuki Tamura, trumpet; Ikue Mori, electronics; Brandon Lopez, bass; Tom Rainey, drums; Chris Corsano, drums.

Recorded on September 20, 2022, at the DiMenna Centre in New York City, USA

Be prepared for anything! Fujii’s latest is performed by what she describes as her “dream band” and her 100 dreams (Parts One to Five) reflect Avant-rock, chamber jazz, collective improvisation and swinging jazz, all held together by strange colours from the reeds, eccentric daydreaming and catastrophic blasting from the horns.

Her claim for her distinctive music is that it is an “ongoing obsession with what she hopes to achieve” and defines this further by saying “I would love to make music that no one has heard before.”  Believe me, you do.

Let’s take a look at Parts 3+4 to see how some of this intricacy and dreaming is brought about.  Part 3 introduces tenor Laubrock in an almost loose, lyrical form with bass and drums in support, while tautness is brought about by the horns.

Tenor and bassoon skip along, querying and postulating impulsively as they segue to Part 4 and an electronic segment from Ikue Mori. Now, back to brass and woodwind and the marvellous counterpoint they offer, especially with the distinctive tone colour of the bassoon thrown in.

Sounds like its growling.  Laubrock takes over, introducing some new, fascinating lexes that round off the number in an enthusiastic and exuberant stream.

Fujii says that each of her CDs is “a dream come true.”  Hyaku, One Hundred Dreams is her 100th album as a leader and to celebrate, the inexhaustible, avant-garde jazz pianist and composer has brought together a tight-knit, nine-piece ensemble filled with talent.

The five-part suite that constitutes Hyaku was composed at home during the Covid years and developed into the captivating work which was recorded live at New York’s DiMenna Centre, in 2022.

This is my 100th album, but I am as full of excitement and nervous anticipation as I was for my first.”

Reviewed by Ken Cheetham