Bassist and composer Fumi Tomita has been active on the New York jazz scene for over 15 years with notable appearances alongside Sheila Jordan, Christian Sands, Luis Perdomo, Dave Liebman, and Steve Wilson, among others. He is currently the Assistant Professor of Jazz at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. On April 19th, Tomita released his third album as leader entitled The Elephant Vanishes: Jazz Interpretations of the Short Stories of Haruki Murakami on Origin Records. The album features an inspired quintet comprised of Jason Rigby on saxophone, Mike Baggetta on guitar, Art Hirahara on keys, and Mark Micklethwaite on drums.
As the title states, the compositions from The Elephant Vanishes were inspired by a collection of short stories of the same name written by Japanese author Haruki Murakami drawing upon themes of despair, loneliness, disconnection, and self-discovery. The literary themes of each story are transformed into musical ones through Tomita’s picturesque and vivid compositions. The result is a mature, cerebral and vibrant brainchild which exudes respect and devotion to its muse. The Elephant Vanishes is a subtle yet powerful effort which conveys humility and patience putting the music ahead of any unnecessary bravado.
You can watch the video for Tomita’s take on “Dancing Dwarf” below, a story about a man who works at a factory manufacturing elephants and dreams of a dancing dwarf, then hears the dwarf existed and danced for the king prior to the revolution. In a subsequent dream, he makes a pact with the dwarf to win the heart of a beautiful girl at the factory dance. Tomita and his quintet will be playing their album release show tonight, May 8th, at Nublu Classic in NYC.
The Elephant Vanishes: Jazz Interpretations of the Short Stories of Haruki Murakami, the new album by bassist and composer Fumi Tomita, is out now on Origin Records.
Sébastien Hélary co-founded Nextbop in 2009 with the objective of introducing modern jazz music to a younger generation of fans. Aside from music, his other main obsession is food, particularly ramen and other Japanese delicacies.