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«Billows of Blue»

«Billows of Blue is the sophomore album of Japanese, Brooklyn-based pianist-vocalist Rema Hasumi with her trio, featuring double bass player Masa Kamaguchi and drummer Randy Peterson. This album expands the unique aesthetics and builds on the strong interplay of of Hasumi trio that was already established on the trio debut album, «Utazata» (Ruweh, 2015), and a year of performances afterwards.

But if «Utazata» embodied extensive Japanese influence, «Billows of Blue references cosmic, free jazz, showing the seminal influence of such poetic composers-improvisers as Alice Coltrane and Annette Peacock and the work of fellow Japanese pianist Masabumi Kikuchi. The new album stresses even more the intimate, fragile atmosphere of the debut album, coloring it now with cosmic-mystical motifs.

The eight new distinct compositions are abstracted as sonic poems, developing with their own delicate rhythm, thin colors and their nonlinear structure, as if letting the flowing sounds choose their natural course. Even when Hasumi, Kamaguchi and Peterson attempt to swing on «Still or Again», the pulse sound free, transforms and morphs organically in its own accord. The ballad «Nocturnal» presents the trio withdrawing into its own minimalist, serene ambiance, suggesting only fragments of this captivating melody. Only the sensual «Keep My Water Still» maintains a definitive structure of a conventional song, echoing Brazilian music. The trio improvisation «In The Mists of March» highlights the poetic, impressionist interplay of this trio and the title-piece follows this vein, now focused on Hasumi vocal improvisations.

Unique and beautiful.

Eyal Hareuveni

Rema Hasumi (p, v), Masa Kamaguchi (b), Randy Peterson (dr)

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