The Wire review by Phil Freeman


Nobuyasu Furuya Trio – Bendowa (CF 159)
Nobuyasu Furuya, a Japanese saxophonist now resident in Lisbon, makes his recorded debut with this excellent trio, backed by bassist Hernani Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini. Bendowa is named after a text by Zen monk Dogen that describes how to perfect the Buddhist way through the disciplined meditation know as zazen; and some passages among its five untitled improvisations are indeed meditative.

The second piece, for example, begins with bowed bass and gently caressed cymbals, in a manner that suggests an awareness of post-jazz improvisatory strategies. But Furuya’s flute playing on this track is quite disruptive, ascending from delicate puffing hiss to a full volume shriek that sounds almost like feedback.

The third piece is a Brotzmanniacal workout featuring ferocious tenor blowing as well as a middle section during which Furuya makes distressing, almost gastric sounds with the bass clarinet, while Faustino attempts to yank his instrument’s strings off, and Ferrandini offers intermittent commentary on toms and cymbals.

Indeed, throughout the disc, Faustino’s playing is practically an assault. Even when Furuya seems to be heading in the direction of traditional Japanese flute technique, as on the fourth piece, the bassist is back there strumming and bowing like Jimmy Garrison having a brain haemorrhage. This is the weakest track, if only because Furuya has a brief outburst of singing through the flute, something that must be discouraged. Excellent work overall, though, from a player worthy of free jazz fans’ attention.

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