Best of 2016 #15: Natsuko Sugao Group – “La Danza de una Luz” (Underpool)


Just combining the music influences of modern post-bop, Japanese traditional and classical is an intriguing proposition.  And this isn’t the first time trumpeter Natsuko Sugao has undertaken this kind of project.  Her 2014 release Sakura brought those same elements together, but rather than blend them in with one another, she allowed the music forms to collide, and then exploited those points of impact for opportunities for melodic development.  On her 2016 release La Danza de una Luz, she unites those elements into the same breath, and the result is music with a larger presence and greater cohesion.  The music sings with greater resonance as a united force.  The best insight into her modified approach is how the dissonant introduction to “Magic Natchan” bleeds right into the Japanese folk before dropping off into a bass solo improvisation.  The entirety of the passage is completely seamless, sounding like a long exhalation.  What might’ve been a jarring sensation for another band, another project, comes off perfectly fluid here.  It’s one amazing moment among many on this excellent recording.  Joining Sugao are Jordi Santanach on tenor sax, Enric Peinado on guitar, Marc Cuevas on double bass, Iván González on horn, and Josema Martín on drums.

Artist site | Listen | Available at: BandcampeMusic

Jazz from Barcelona, Spain.

Read more about the album with my Best of Bandcamp Jazz column on The Bandcamp Daily (LINK).