A picture of a Younger Ryo Fukui sitting by a piano with some microphones in view

Ryo Fukui: Live at Vidro ’77 Album Review

By Victor Guevara
Music Journalist

The latest release by the late pianist Ryo Fukui and his record label Solid/Slow Boat, is a live album from one of his shows back in 1977.

The album is nothing short of encapsulating. It was released at a perfect time, giving listeners a taste of live music that many of us are craving, especially now in these crazier times.

For most of his career, Fukui seemed to remain based in Sapporo Japan with some international travel and recognition, but it was not until recently when he gained a slight resurgence and spike in followers. This spike was due to a couple of reissues of his album being uploaded to YouTube.

If anything, this latest release only further proves why his name deserves some more credit than it is usually given.

Many argue that Fukui’s playing can be seen as simple or having an amateurish tone to it, but I believe this is where the true beauty of his work lies. His work is just plain enjoyable; he might not be racing or experimenting all over any of his charts but his lines and solos still capture the listeners.

At the end of the day, it does not have to take much to comprehend, but I believe music does not always have to be a complex concept.

This can especially be seen with this latest release as it took place semi-early in his career, but the album is still filled with some really beautiful colors and enjoyable compositions. The album feels light and it is a perfect pick-me-up and or de-stressor for any tough days one might experience.

It is very easy to just sit down and fall into the album and energy that Fukui produces with the rhythm section, and just have a plain good time.

This simplistic nature in his playing, in my opinion, also makes this album and much of his other music just very digestible. It feels like a great entry into much of the more complicated tracks and experimental players that are out there. His resurgence on youtube only further proves that, as he has been the stepping stone for many listeners into the deeper crevices of jazz.

At the end of the day, music is just music. If it sounds good and enjoyable that is all that really matters, and Fukui and his work are a perfect example of this. If you are looking for an enjoyable experience, I highly recommend this new release and to check out some of his older work as well.

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