UMass Jazz Professor Fumi Tomita Has New Book and CD
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
It’s been a busy month for Fumi Tomita, Assistant Professor of Jazz and String Bass in the Department of Music and Dance.
His new book, The Jazz Rhythm Section: A Manual for Band Directors, was published by Rowman & Littlefield in late March. The book is designed as a practical guide to improving a band’s sound by bolstering the foundation of the group, with chapters on each of the primary instruments in the rhythm section: bass, drums, piano and guitar. Other key topics include equipment and set up issues, performance practice, the rhythm section and its inter-relationships, and suggestions for count-offs and metronome exercises that will help directors of all levels to improve their bands.
At almost the same time, Tomita’s newest CD, The Elephant Vanishes: Jazz Interpretations of the Short Stories of Haruki Murakami was released by OA2 Records. Murakami is an international literary star who is best known as the author of IQ84, a massive three-volume work of dystopian fantasy. The Elephant Vanishes features interpretations of seven of Murakami’s short stories that draw on themes of despair, loneliness, disconnection, and self-discovery. Equally prominent are the Western pop culture references and magical elements that decorate each story. Along with saxophonist Jason Rigby, guitarist Mike Baggetta, pianist Art Hirahara and drummer Mark Micklethwaite, Tomita reimagines Murakami's literary themes, transforming them into rich musical landscapes. Writing for the Midwest Record, reviewer Chris Spector describes the release as “a fine change-up from a ‘bass ace,’ one who has been honing his skills in New York for the last 15 years.”
Tomita will be one of the subjects of an article on jazz and literature in the July issue of Downbeat Magazine and the new CD has also been approved for review in National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
An active jazz bassist proficient on acoustic and electric basses, Tomita has worked with a number of top jazz artists including Joe Lovano, Joey Baron, Tony Malaby, Ben Monder, Vincent Herring, E.J. Strickland, Jeremy Pelt, and Ron Affif. A longtime resident of New York City, Tomita has performed at such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Gracie Mansion, The Up Over Jazz Café, The 55 Bar, Cleopatra's Needle, and the Garage. He has recorded with the Impromptu Jazz Trio featuring Lou Rainone on piano and Robert Weiss on drums. Shigefumi holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz and Contemporary Media from the Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music in Jazz and Commercial Music from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance from McGill University.