Tomas Fujiwara Trio | Constellation | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Tomas Fujiwara

Tomas Fujiwara

Peter Gannushkin

Tomas Fujiwara Trio 18+ Free Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., Oct. 21, 9:30 p.m. 2015
Drummer Tomas Fujiwara has played in so many working bands with guitarist Mary Halvorson—his quintet the Hook Up, the collective Thumbscrew, Taylor Ho Bynum’s Sextet, Chicago-­based octet Living by Lanterns, Halvorson’s own Reverse Blue—that it almost seems like an act of infidelity that the guitarist beside him in the trio he leads tonight is Brandon Seabrook. Fujiwara brings sleek, graceful propulsion to almost everything he touches; on After All Is Said (482 Music), the terrific new album by the Hook Up, he keeps things driving smoothly despite the often thorny harmonies and occasionally fierce improvisations of his cohorts. But in this trio Fujiwara takes a more strident, furious approach, which suits a wild card like Seabrook—the guitarist’s giddy playing bristles with raw chaos, noise, and sometimes even the intensity of a metal shredder. Fujiwara wrote five of the eight pieces on the trio’s debut album, last year’s Variable Bets (Relative Pitch), and they’re more tightly coiled than his usual elegant compositions. The other three are jagged, dissonant free-improv pieces, where the group’s third member, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, departs from his customary melodic grace to dissect Seabrook’s freak-outs like a scalpel. In his writing and playing with this band, Fujiwara unshackles a visceral, explosive side of his aesthetic, and his top-flight collaborators seem to take a gleeful pleasure in helping him fuck shit up.
— Peter Margasak



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