Berklee guitar instructor Tomo Fujita returns with memorable tunes that highlight his affinity for melody and “the funk.” Fujita brought in players who know how to do it; Steve Gadd, Bernard Purdie, and Steve Jordan supply drums, while Will Lee plays bass.
“Boy Back Home” mixes a bluesy feel with an almost country-like sound, while “That Girl” has a cool/West Coast funk with great playing and tasty moves by Gadd and Lee. “Crossing” is a funky 9th-chord workout that lets Purdie and Lee lay down the foundation while Fujita solos deftly across the beat. The song highlights his considerable skills at soloing. In a song that could make a player fall into clichéd traps, he never does. It’s the perfect song to demonstrate how his playing is interesting, and never predictable. “Through the Pain” slows things down with a bluesy feel; at just over eight minutes, it gives Fujita ample chance to show his soloing skills. Some squeezed-out high notes give way to volume swells and a simply soulful solo.
His tone – like everything on Pure – is clean and perfect. He’s a classic pocket player who loves to make memorable melodies but isn’t afraid to step out and shine.
This article originally appeared in VG’s Oct. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.