Ryo Fukui
Scenery


4.5
superb

Review

by ~F I D D Y~ USER (7 Reviews)
July 29th, 2017 | 58 replies


Release Date: 1976 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Oh, how lovely is the scenery.

Japanese jazz, casually known as Jap-Jazz, has had a very interesting history. The genre arrived to the nation due to WWII when American forces stationed in Japan brought and introduced said music from overseas. After a few decades, it evolved like it did in the West with slight differences. The main difference was Jap-Jazz wasn't as developed as American jazz. Artists like Miles Davis were already pushing the sound of fusion in the early 70s while Magical Power Mako started doing so later in the decade with a more dissonant, bare style. As a matter of fact, he and a few others started the now-signature avant-garde Japanese movement, which would explain why so much experimental music comes out of the country. The problem with the newborn experimental style of music at the time, however, was that it didn't show how to truly embrace jazz as an art form.

Because of Jap-Jazz’s confused identity, one the genre’s most important albums was Ryo Fukui’s Scenery. While other artists were busy getting to know the textures of music, self-taught pianist Ryo, accompanied by a drummer and a bass player, decided to give his own spin on American jazz. He borrowed elements of post-bop, cool jazz, and even blues to create something unique, something unheard of before: a jazz album that prioritized composition rather than improvisation. The six song album continuously proves that Ryo is the complete master at his craft. Every section flows seamlessly into one another whilst providing tasteful and rich musicality. All notes seem relevant, and decisions feel like they are taken purposefully. This leads to a very pleasing sound in which the trio perfectly complements each other. Their sound is so full, they may not even strike the listener as a three piece group initially.

Even though Ryo prioritizes composition, he still manages to show his virtuosity. His unbelievable playing displays dexterity and skill but also exhibits melodic and rhythmic awareness. On Scenery, the piano directed the band’s harmonic focus as it also added a cool, vocal-esque layer on top. A perfect example is “Early Summer,” in which Ryo crafts beautiful melodies and soon plays one of the greatest piano solos in all of jazz. However, he somehow leaves room for his group to show off as well. This is clearly seen by the fantastic drum solo later in the aforementioned song and on “Autumn Leaves.” Towards the last third of the latter, every instrument lays back to make way to an exquisite bass driven section. Clearly, all musicians shine, but the pianist’s unmistakable playing steals the show.

Scenery marks the evolution of Jap-Jazz from experimentalism to a fully fleshed-out form of expression. Ryo’s decision to acknowledge what's already done and build on top of the shoulders of giants only took the quality of Japanese music to a level never seen before. Upon its release, it received massive praise and deeply influenced Japan’s music: to this day, people cite it as an undeniable game changer. Looking back at the lovely scenery, it's hard to disagree.



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user ratings (108)
Chart.
4.3
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
50iL
July 29th 2017


4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Stream: https://youtu.be/Hrr3dp7zRQY

Special thanks to Blush and Aaron for proofreading the review.

Rest in Peace, Ryo Fukui (June 1, 1948 – March 15, 2016)

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Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
July 29th 2017


5276 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Rest in piece dude. Obviously I read this earlier, but I really do like this review. I learned a lot from it.



Pos'd :]

brainmelter
July 29th 2017


4220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

v nice write up, this needed a review

Digging: Salami Rose Joe Luis - son of a sauce!

50iL
July 29th 2017


4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ayy thanks guy :3

FullOfSounds
July 29th 2017


15460 Comments


Great review

SandwichBubble
July 29th 2017


3728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Japanese jazz, casually known as Jap-Jazz"

Is it now?



Glad this has a review at the very least (:

Digging: Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals

50iL
July 29th 2017


4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks fellers

Yeah, it is. I've seen various critics refer to it that way

danielcardoso
Contributing Reviewer
July 29th 2017


11519 Comments


This sounds very cool.

Shadowmire
July 29th 2017


4521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

album is absolute pleasure

50iL
July 29th 2017


4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[2]

ashcrash9
July 29th 2017


2685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so glad this has a review now, and a good one too, nice

50iL
July 29th 2017


4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ahahah thanks, I was concerned I wouldn't do the album justice

Shadowmire
July 29th 2017


4521 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i was so pleased that there was a review at all that i hadn't read it yet, sorry

pos

50iL
July 29th 2017


4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah its fine man, no one is forced to read my reviews. Thanks though

Drifter
July 29th 2017


4237 Comments


Lovely review (:

50iL
July 29th 2017


4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lovely comment :3

CalculatingInfinity
July 29th 2017


7344 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Desperately needed a review, lovely job. Also no one should shun Mellow Dream, it's just as good as this yet only has 11 ratings.

MrSirLordGentleman
July 29th 2017


10793 Comments


this didn't have a review? damn

good work m8

bloc
July 29th 2017


43036 Comments


Niiiiiice man, I can't even count the number of times I've sampled from this album

50iL
July 29th 2017


4165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks dudes!



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