Artist: Kaze & Ikue Mori
Album: Sand Storm
Label: Atypeek Diffusion / Circum-Disc
Year Of Release: 2020/2021
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
02. Poco a Poco
04. Under the Feet
05. Noir Poplar
06. Suna Arashi
07. Noir Soir
On Sand Storm, Kaze – the cooperative quartet featuring Japanese composer-pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura along with French trumpeter Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins – welcomes pioneering laptop player Ikue Mori as a special guest. It’s no easy task for a band that’s been together for 10 years to add a player without upsetting a well-developed group balance, but the merger proves to be a natural one. Sand Storm’s vibrant collective improvisations and brilliant soloing make this a highpoint in the life of the band. “I knew Kaze would sound great with Ikue,” says Fujii, “but I have to say it turned out even better than I imagined it would. She brought fresh, new sounds to the band and a very strong feeling.”
For Fujii, Mori was a natural choice for a special guest. “While Kaze was on tour in Europe in spring 2019, Peter got an offer for us to play at the Sons d’Hiver Festival in Paris in January 2020,” she remembers. “They also said we could invite a special guest. When I heard this, I had this strong feeling that Ikue would fit great in the group. I could feel it. It is hard to explain, but I knew it would work. I told Peter and he loved the idea.”
A one-week tour in Austria, France, and Russia was set up for early 2020 and Fujii’s intuition proved correct. “We only had one short rehearsal right before our first concert in Vienna, but we knew immediately that the music would be great,” she says. “We were all so comfortable. We hadn’t planned on recording together, but we really wanted to after the tour.”
Sand Storm is the result of that collective enthusiasm generated by the tour. From the opening swirl of granular sounds on Pruvost’s “Rivodoza” (a Malagasy word for “hurricane”) that hits the listener with coordinated intensity, it’s clear this is a deeply attuned quintet. The subtle little details, rapidly changing timbres, and the ease with which everyone interacts indicate a group in which each member is selflessly dedicated to creating vivid, organic improvisations. Similar passages of highly musical sound abstraction also highlight “Kappa” and “Noir Soir.” Three short collective improvisations also showcase their strong intuitive bond as a group. Their command of extended techniques for their respective instruments often makes it’s hard to tell whether a sound is acoustic or electronic.
Each member of Kaze contributes distinctive compositions that provide frameworks for individual solos as well as collective interaction. On Tamura’s “Kappa,” Tamura takes a bravura turn, ranging freely through lyricism, soft tones, high wails, percussive notes, and humorous sounds. Pruvost follows with his own unique blend of pure sound and musical notes. Fujii’s dark and urgent piano highlights “Noir Soir.” Mori, whose presence is felt strongly throughout the album, solos eloquently on Orins’ “Noir Poplar.”
“I love playing with both Kaze and Ikue because they think of the music first, not themselves,” Fujii says.