Right Place, Right Time
Tomo Fujita is a guitar wizard, a dazzlingly versatile talent whose mastery of the blues, funk, jazz, and progressive rock turns him into a one-man army. Comparisons to Joe Satriani are inevitable; in fact, just about any album of rock-guitar instrumentals will riff on Satriani’s name. No matter. While the influence is there, especially in the buzzsaw, metallic intro of “Catty Woman,” Fujita distinguishes himself from the Silver Surfer with his ability to attack several musical genres, often in the same track. Like a chameleon, Fujita shifts color, teasing listeners with a hard-rock opening on “Catty Woman” that eventually evolves into funk, then slowing down for a transcendent, jazzy groove. It’s quite startling, actually, because Fujita’s transitions are so effortless, seamless.
Juggling a number of styles would expose the weaknesses of lesser artists, but not Fujita; he plays them all with a sharp ear and breathtaking dexterity. On “Texas Heat,” Fujita aims for the soulful tones of Southern blues; he captures its raw essence with clean, fluid playing. “Sweet Home” opens slowly with a smooth-jazz vibe but erupts into spine-tingling blues. In “Funky Thang,” Fujita rides on a see-saw between funk and jazz with gripping results. Fujita saves his best performance on “Drive Me Nuts,” in which he cuts loose with his most intense, fiery soloing.
Tomo Fujita: www.tomofujita.com