Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet; Tomas Fujiwara: drums
Friends of a lifetime, the members of this duo have just released Through Foundation – their third album together – both in a limited vinyl edition and digitally. On paper, drums and cornet might constitute a pretty tough proposition for the casual listener. However, Taylor Ho Bynum and Tomas Fujiwara are too expertly unstrained to fall into the trap of gratuitous contentiousness. Terms that come to mind as this writer enjoys his fourth excursion across the ten tracks: “restraint”, “spacing”, and even “wiseness”. The music is, simply put, beautiful in its somewhat complex linearity. Percussive patterns and melodic cells interact courteously, each instrumentalist listening to the other’s phrasing with such a degree of relaxation that one can nearly see the confident smiling as they perform and deliver. The absence of immoderate antagonism does not imply a lack of momentum; the overall energy is that of a spirited, intelligent human machine not endangered by implied leaderships. I love the way in which Bynum emits clear sentences inside restricted pitch fields over Fujiwara’s odd metres in “Prime 3”, and the fleeting hints to a disapproval of calmness presented in “Black Cherry Basement” (the title being an obvious pun on Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell). “Backyard Wind” also stands among my darling chapters, a serene contemplation based on elegiac tones held upon a resonant rolling pulse. The best praise for this set? Let’s say that it brought the fine scent of good old jazz back in the house. A rare occurrence in times of global stylistic muddiness and depressing assortments, where deadly punchers and second-rate sparring partners are placed on the same level of consideration by the public eye.