Tomas Fujiwara: Pith review | John Lewis’s contemporary album of the week

(Out of Your Head Records)
Patricia Brennan and Tomeka Reid’s unique talents are foregrounded in an album that spirals into ambient, post-rock and classical

Drummer Tomas Fujiwara has been a fixture on New York’s jazz scene for more than a decade, playing with the likes of Thumbscrew, Matana Roberts and Triple Double. He’s also an adventurous composer who has written most of the compositions on this album, but his drumming is very much in the background – his presence largely textural and ornamental. Instead his incredibly detailed, densely written pieces have been composed to suit the unique talents of his bandmates – the vibraphonist Patricia Brennan and the cellist Tomeka Reid.

Reid, usually playing pizzicato and at the low end of her instrument, often sounds as if she’s playing a double bass, which means that some of this album sounds like a minty-fresh vibes/bass/drums jazz trio. That’s definitely true of the dainty swing of Josho, based around Reid’s melodic walking bassline (like Milt Jackson’s MJQ playing a spy movie soundtrack) and also the creepy, churning, Latin-inflected opener, Solace (like Gary Burton jamming with a no wave band).

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