Pith is the sophomore album of American, New York-based drummer Tomas Fujiwara’s 7 Poets Trio featuring cellist Tomeka Reid (Fujiwara plays in Reid quartet) and vibes player Patricia Brennan, following the self-titled album released in 2019 by RogueArt. Fujuwara’s new compositions were written between April 2020 and January 2022, a time of minimal to no performing opportunities, especially for the always-busy Fujiwara who plays on more than ten active bands. The album was recorded at Firehouse 12 in New Haven in April 2023.
The long process of composing turned out to be therapeutic and allowed Fujiwara to think about what in life was truly essential, necessary, and important… the pith. Fujiwara wanted to strip away extraneous things – noises and distractions – and get to the heart of what matters. The six new compositions – one of them is credited to the trio – employ cleverly the unique, chamber-like instrumentation of the 7 Poets Trio and the excellent improvising skills of Fujiwara, Reid and Brennan.
Pith highlights the strong, individual voices of these gifted musicians and improvisers and the fascinating sound universe of the 7 Poets trio. The music of the trio flows organically, in a natural, almost telepathic ease, but sounds mysterious and poetic, especially on the most majestic ballad «Resolve». Fujiwara is much more than a drummer who keeps time or offers grooves. He articulates beautifully the melodic themes with great command, and takes solos that favor colors and orchestral imagination; the classically-trained Reid alternates between melody and harmony, and often she employs her cello to carry the pizzicato bassline of the compositions, with a rich and playful, swinging feel; Brennan, who is also classically-trained, uses the vibes to cover the role of a melodic and chordal instrument but shines as rhythm-keeper in a manner that bridges the gap between the classical and jazz vibraphone traditions. The only free improvised piece «Other» demonstrates how Fujiwara, Reid and Brennan trigger each other with their complex and exquisite conceptions of time and space and solidify the 7 Poets Trio sound.
Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Tomeka Reid (cello), Patricia Brennan (vibraphone)