Otohito Fuse Trio - Isolated

Japanese Import

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2024 Isolated is a 2024 album from the Otohito Fuse Trio, a piano-bass-drums jazz group of popular and in-demand young Japanese jazz players. Led by pianist Otohito Fuse, the eight-track CD runs for sixty-five minutes from a brilliantly modern jazz piano trio. As mentioned in the album notes, Fuse’s sound somewhat follows in the path of several heroes he thanks: Bill Evans, Lyle Mays, Keith Jarrett, and Yuya Wakai, respected influences popular with many fans and jazz musicians. Similarities could also be made to the emotional touch and soft strength of modern pianists like Danilo Perez, Danny Grissett, and Marcin Wasilewski. However, the special sound of Fuse’s trio surpasses mere echoes and shows independence, skillful songwriting, and flexibly agile group cohesion. The album design is elegantly off-white, a vintage-feeling frame for modern jazz. The image depicts an atmospherically misty road scene that foreshadows graceful and deceptively deep music. The absence of liner notes and minimal text allows the music and performances to speak for themselves. It’s not surprising that, along with the compositions, leader Fuse supplied the cover design and photography for Isolated as well. Even the recorded sound has that magically attractive sound that analog tape gives, warm and full with an organically damped, rolled-off top end. Additionally, there’s a realistic presence of piano, bass, and drums all in the foreground with a sound that meshes well from three equal players: three become one. Fuse’s music is a mix of steady and free, straight-eights and swinging, mixing an Evans/Jarrett/Chick Corea style with a sense of flexible time control and modern art-like abstractions. Five tracks lock into rhythms and develop in traditional modern jazz modes. #1 “Isolated” blooms with dark beauty, #3 “Narrow and Wide” swings and bounces, #5 “Beyond the Solstice” hooks and brightens with upbeat stimulation in a folk-pop vein, #7 “Autumnal Mood” is a delicately crafted walk through swaying trees, and #8 “Lapsed Away” brings the album to an exciting finish with suspenseful accents and twists. Three of the tracks include more abstraction. These songs patiently develop, morph, and curve through still and stirring movements, staying on course while stepping into and out of paths along the way. #2 “Myo” and #4 “Cycles” are imaginative dreams with dips, crests, and ideas being explored as the three musicians cooperatively guide the flow. At brief moments their modern improvisation even seems to bring in touches of Duke Ellington or Debussy. The time frame shared by the trio slightly slows, briefly stops, and resumes with dramatic elasticity. Even further out from #2 and #4, #6 “Improvisation in B” is entirely improvised as a playful and unbounded dialogue, colors splat upon a canvas with finesse, accuracy, and experimentation. It’s impressive that such young players are already producing a mature, respectful, and creative sound. Pianist Fuse, bassist Riku Takahashi, and drummer Kaita Nakamura are all in their twenties, naturally enthusiastic, independent, and full of spirit. At the same time, they are able to exhibit the skills resulting from natural talent, dedication to practice, and sharp listening, confident in their abilities and taking care of their music. Brian McCrory. Jazz of Japan substack


SKU 4589518614092
Barcode # 4589518614092
Brand OFM Japan

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