Itaru Oki / Nobuyoshi Ino / Sun Bae - Kami Fusen (No Business Records, 2017)
This is an interesting and deeply emotional album of subtle and spacious music created by Itaru Oki on trumpet and bamboo flute, Nobuyoshi Ino on bass and Choi Sun Bae on trumpet. The lack of drums and a chordal instrument makes for a very wide open sound stage for brass and bass and allows the musicians to explore both experimental music and creative exploration of a few jazz standards making for a well rounded recording. The first four performances on this album consist of original compositions and free improvisations, in an exciting setting for double brass and bass. Ino's role as the bassist is very interesting as he acts as a fulcrum for the music, but also unmoors himself to create solo and collective statements of his own. The trumpet players are very expressive in a wide range of settings and when Oki switches to his bamboo flute, he opens up a whole new dimension for the music to travel in. It is interesting to hear the trio shift gears from free and abstract improvisation into playing a jazz standard "I Remember Clifford" and a medley of American popular songbook tunes "Old Folks / Tea For Two." What is most impressive is that the band is able to maintain their focus on exploration during these performances, beginning with the Benny Golson composition which is dedicated to the great trumpeter Clifford Brown who died far too young. The two trumpet players on this album use that familiar melody and their clear familiarity with Brown's playing to create an honest and powerful performance of this tune that is poignant and thoughtful. This deep melodic sensibility continues in the medley that closes the album, where the musicians are able to incorporate the themes of these familiar standards into an improvisation which shows their ability as improvisers as well as there ability as interpreters. This was a fine album, the musicians are very talented and patient, carefully letting their sound develop and broaden to encompass a wide range of feelings and emotions. Fans of creative improvised music will find a lot to like on this album. Kami Fusen - No Business Records.