Live fuse is a 2007 live album from fuse, a modern jazz quartet headed by Toshihiko Inoue on sax, with Nobumasa Tanaka on piano, Benisuki Sakai on bass, and Tsunoken on drums.
This two-disc album was recorded live in 2005 and captures provocative dynamic changes and soul-touching music swinging from tender pianissimo to fortissimo over vigorous drum beats and rhythm section riffs.
The ornamental twists and organic jams aim to thrill the audience and avoid falling into ruts. While Inoue provides all the compositions, the members reinterpret and occupy the music live, mixing together and shaping the music in performance in a fusion of influence, a tightrope walk of unpredictability.
As the ‘fuse’ from fusion may imply, jazz and rock energy permeates this fiery music, yet is well-balanced with serene moments of graceful and meditative themes, as well with some unconstrained portions of free jazz.
Each disc contains four tracks with lengthy running times, a true live performance with musicians seizing and extending moments to stretch out creatively. The first set opens with a strong hook and dramatic burners on high with a multi-part suite ”Birth of Life/I Kin Ye”, followed by the refined, introspective ”Watasuge”, groove-riffs and churning bass on ”North Rider”, and the unifying rallying cry of “Witchi-Tai-To”, a tribute to one of Inoue’s influences, the great soprano saxophonist Jan Garbarek.
Disc two features four more extended tracks: the straight-forward and playfully multi-faceted “Grasshopper”, the evocative poem-like scenery of “Yoshi-Ga-Daira”, the funky exuberance of “Fireworks”, and the minimal framework of “Flood” sustaining the onrush of free group expression.
This album is the third and final fuse release with the original members. Sadly, Toshihiko Inoue passed away in 2015, yet the remaining members continue to perform live reunions and tributes to the great saxophonist.
- Toshihiko Inoue – 井上淑彦 – soprano sax, tenor sax
- Nobumasa Tanaka – 田中信正 – piano
- Benisuke Sakai – 坂井紅介 – bass
- Tsunoken/Ken Tsunoda – つの犬/角田健 – drums
Released in 2007 on Ewe Records as EWCD-0119.
Videos of fuse are hard to find, yet the individual members can be viewed in clips with other groups. Here is a video of Inoue performing with Fumio Karashima’s group.
* Audio sample at top of page from “Grasshopper”, the first track on the second disc.