Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up - The Air is Different (482 Music, 2012)

This is a very nice post bop quintet session with excellent band interplay. Led by drummer Tomas Fujiwara and consisting of Mary Halvorson on guitar, Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Trevor Dunn on bass and Brian Settles on tenor saxophone. The band achieves a very potent and progressive sound, with the leader providing ever shifting and pulsating rhythms accompanied by rock solid bass. Settles and Finlayson make for an excellent front line, playing in unison and soloing well, but the real center of attention is Mary Halvorson, who seemingly has the ability to dictate the feeling of the music at will with gentle strums, probing strokes and electric shards of guitar that permeate the music. The album is well paced with short nimble selections like the brisk "Double Lake, Defined" leading into the later longer works "Smoke Breathing Lights" and "Postcards" which build dynamically to powerful and satisfying conclusions. The payoff is that this is an excellent album, with suburb ensemble and group playing. The musicians in their group all have their own groups and configurations, but hopefully they will be able to reconvene and record again soon, because they're on to something special here. The Air is Different -

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