Following on from his acclaimed works Stories and Apologues, Berlin-based composer and vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita presents Book of Life, the third installment in a trilogy of solo vibraphone recordings. With Book of Life Masayoshi continues his mission in bringing the vibraphone – a relatively new invention in the history of instruments often kept in the background in orchestras and jazz outfits – into the spotlight.
Having trained as a drummer, Masayoshi began experimenting with the vibraphone, preparing its bars with kitchen foil or beads, playing it with the cello bow such as in Fog or using the other end of the mallets to create a more ambient texture of sound, as with the title track. Focusing on the vibraphone in this way sets Masayoshi apart, dedicating his artistic life to celebrating this fascinating and often under appreciated instrument and making his take on ambient and modern compositional styles a unique one.
Book of Life sees Masayoshi expand on his compositional skills, bringing in more orchestral elements such as strings, flute and even a choir to interact with the vibraphone. And not just any choir – members of this chorus include musical friends Peter Broderick, Hatis Noit, David Allred and Shards who featured on Nils Frahm's latest album All Melody. The instruments come to represent characters in Masayoshi's stories, hinted at in each accompanying text contained in the album booklet, which Masayoshi recites at his live performances. Upbeat lead single "It's Magical" features two cellos and a flute as extensions of the vibraphone.