Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up, Actionspeak

482 Music, 482-1071
Danton Boller-bass
Mary Halvorson-guitar
Brian Settles-tenor saxophone
Jonathan Finlayson-trumpet
Tomas Fujiwara-drums

Actionspeak is like a forward-thinking ‘60s Blue Note release with a twist. The Blue Note influence is accounted for by Fujiwara’s admiration for the compositions of Wayne Shorter, and that “cinematic” quality is evident here. The twist is provided by Mary Halvorson’s guitar, which is given ample room to wind in and around the structures of the songs. She plays it straight occasionally, but her unique sensibilities give Actionspeak a left-of-center edge. Like many contemporary jazz recordings, it’s difficult at times to tell where the composition leaves off and the improvising begins. Settles is the new name here, at least for me, and his hoarse upper register and terse statements remind me of Frank Lowe.
This release has really grown on me with repeated listens, and successfully navigates between inside and outside sensibilities.

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