Nobuyasu Furuya Quintet | The Major | No Business Records

Nobuyasu Furuya – tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet | Rodrigo Pinheiro – piano | Eduardo Lála – trombone | Hernâni Faustino – contrabass | Gabriel Ferrandini – drums, percussions

Recorded and mixed on 14 and 22 November, 2010 at Namusche / Lisbon by Joaquim Monte. All tracks were composed and conducted by Nobuyasu Furuya. All tracks were performed and improvised by Pinheiro / Lala / Faustino / Ferrandini / Furuya. Cover photo by Seiichi Sugita. Mastered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Tracklist Side A: 1. Jap agitator caught again 2. D.O.O (development of our own) / declaration from detroit 3. Colored to cell – Japs to hell Tracklist Side B: 1. Where are the brothers and sisters? – They went to apple orchard 2. When no saints go marching in 3. To the valley of paradise – yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for I am the evilest son of a Bitch in the valley

Nobuyasu Furuya | Photo: Carlos Paes

Nobuyasu Furuya | Photo: Carlos Paes

Nobuyasu Furuya

is a relatively little-known Japanese reedman who lives in Lisbon, where he’s been making associations with some of the city’s finest improvisers. Following his 2009 debut on Clean Feed (Bendowa, with bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini) he’s back with The Major, joined by the RED Trio (Faustino, Ferrandini and pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro) and trombonist Eduardo Lála in six original compositions ranging from pulpit-pounding to cagy sonic exploration. On tenor, Furuya’s playing is reminiscent of Peter Brötzmann and Mototeru Takagi, and the RED Trio is akin to a contemporary version of ARC or a free-improv version of the Garland / Chambers / Taylor rhythm section. They’re surely one of the most cohesive improvising trios in modern music, and collaborations with figures like John Butcher, Nate Wooley and now Furuya are extra icing on the cake. The three build up a detailed storm behind his gruff, burnished shouts and Lála’s tailgate on “Jap Agitator Caught Again”, bashing and whacking brush alongside the leader’s manic sear. Opening the flip side, “Where Are the Brothers and Sisters?” has a chunky ragtime to no-time rhythmic bash, with Lála’s Rudd-like slushy chortle sailing on the pianist’s eddies. The trombonist is an impressive member of the front line, belting out jovial and brusque commentary. The Major is an enjoyable and frequently compelling session with strong, engaging interplay and flashes of studied seamlessness. What more could one ask for from a second date? — Clifford Allen

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2 thoughts on “Nobuyasu Furuya Quintet | The Major | No Business Records

  1. Nobuyasu Furuya brings to the table a big tenor sound in the tradition of the new thing players of the ’60s without sounding quite like any one of them. His recent quintet LP The Major (No Business LP44) brings him together with some choice European players for a set of exuberant and raucous free improvisation of the old school, meaning that the music reminds of the Archie Shepp ensembles of the classic phase, the NY Contemporary Five, the NY Art conflagration, later Trane, Sonny Simmons, etc., without going the imitation route.

    It’s some delectably over-the-top testifying going on. He is joined by Rodrigo Pinheiro at the piano, Eduardo Lala on trombone, Hernani Faustino on the contrabass and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums. All have the new thing down and have developed their own voice on their respective instruments.

    The collective ensemble improvisations here tend to be the most gratifying and exciting to me, and that’s the emphasis at any rate. We also hear Nobuyasu’s flute and clarinet as well, and he does a good job bringing out color and fleetness on the flute, texture and grit on the clarinet.

    If you like the flat-out madness of the best classic avant jazz, this one will put you in a fine frame of mind. It did that for me.

  2. Japanese born reedman Nobuyasu Furuya splits his time between his native country and Portugal, where The Major was captured. Furuya first came to prominence in the free jazz big band, Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra, before moving to Lisbon, where he recorded two previous sets with musicians from his current band: the well-received Bendowa (Clean Feed, 2009) and Stunde Null (Chitei, 2010). Furuya takes an unusual approach. The sleeve of this limited edition LP states both that all tracks were composed and conducted by Furuya, and that all tracks were performed and improvised by all five participants. The six cuts play this out by displaying compositional intent in terms of dynamics and arrangement, but without written thematic material.

    Furuya’s quintet includes four Portuguese musicians, including the members of the acclaimed Red Trio—pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernani Faustino, and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini—and joined here by trombonist Eduardo Lala. Furuya proves an exciting improviser with energy, passion, and technique to spare, especially on tenor saxophone. The four Portuguese musicians skillfully follow Furuya’s lead, with Lala’s blustery trombone tracing a broad impasto around the principal’s statements. The Major does not have the space and open egalitarian structures of the Red Trio discs, heard to good effect on Empire (No Business, 2011), their collaboration with English saxophonist John Butcher. Faustino and Ferrandini acquit themselves well, but more in the guise of a conventional rhythm section, while Pinheiro remains largely submerged within the ensemble cut and thrust until the second side.

    There is, however, much that merits attention. “Jap Agitator Caught Again” forms a swirling blistering anthem loosely built around tonal centers with the horns trading conversational lines. “D.O.O. (Development of Our Own)/ Declaration From Detroit” presents unfettered expression by tenor first, then trombone and finally piano, each in the company of roiling bass and drums, book-ended by two explosive group outbursts. Pinheiro shines on “When No Saints Go Marching In,” rubbing the strings and adding off kilter percussive effects, after some purposeful interaction between the leader’s light airy clarinet and Faustino’s dancing bass. But the concluding “To The Valley Of Paradise” with its intriguing timbral interplay of dampened piano keys, random scrapes and saxophone squeals, convinces most, becoming increasingly spirited, and acting as a dashing counterpart to the opener. While the disc amply showcases Furuya’s conception, this author can’t help think that it might have been more compelling if everyone had been left more to their own devices.

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