Not A Word - Glen Fukunaga

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 5:54pm -- arkiii
Review Date: 
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Glenn Fukunaga has emerged as one of Austin’s most respected and sought after bassists, having played with a Who’s Who list of artists that includes the likes of Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant and Dr. John, just to name a few.  Glenn Studied music at University of Hawaii at Hilo, but ended up making his way to Austin, Texas.

Having played for years on other people’s CD’s, Not A Word is Glenn’s first album with his own compositions. Upon hearing the CD, a question on many people’s mind is going to be, Glenn, what took you so long?  

Glenn’s idea was to make an “instrumental recording without the usual "rules" and guitar! Something I had to get out and share with the world. Not meant to be a "jazz" record but just a fun outing with these musicians that I respect”.

To that end, Glenn teamed up with long time friend, musician, arranger and producer, Joel Guzman. Glenn and Joel go way back and it was natural that they should team up on this project.  To complete the line up, Glenn called on Alex Coke on Woodwinds, Kevin Flatt on Brass, Bradley Kopp on Ukulele and drummer/percussionist Dony Wynn. The co-producers then chose Redboot Ranch Recording studios to record the CD and Airshow Mastering to master the CD.  The result is a great sounding CD both technically and in its creativity.

Not A Word” takes the listener on a musical journey that is accented by Glenn’s masterful Bass lines affirming the instrument's pronounced role in his music while Guzman’s keyboard styling’s both accompany and shape providing the perfect musical pairing of their instruments. The album songs range from the gentle, and beautiful “Song for Glenn" and "Paradise Stroll" to the jazz-fusion inspired ”Drivin into a Donut Hole” and “Inspite of Color”.

The CD takes on a life of its own from the first few seconds of "Ha Ha Hawaiian’s" catchy intro that features Bradley Kopp joining the band with his ukulele.  Glenn plays tribute to the place of his birth with a song that surprises the listener with its unexpected but fun musical changes in direction.

Alex Coke and Kevin Flatt are true masters of their instruments and both deliver on all their tracks. One of my favorites, “Song for Glenn” has them trading solos and then coming together inspiring a soulful and melancholy walk on a Hawaiian beach on a summer day.

Listening to "Spacefarten", you appreciate the rhythmic talents of drummer Dony Wynn. For the first 40 seconds we are treated to an amazing show of his control and timing.  The song then takes off into a funky groove with everyone taking turns trying to out do each others solo licks.

Drivin’ Into A Donut Hole” is another Bass Driven tune and I’m not sure but I think that maybe Glenn was channeling Jaco Pastorius on that tune.
 While listening to “Inspite Of Color” I could not help but close my eyes and imagine a late night jam session with Chick Corea Miles Davis and Herbie Mann all having a great time getting together to make some special music.

The CD’s final tune “Paradise Stroll" is the perfect song to end the CD.  The musicians all come together and put their final touches on a simple but beautiful song that shows the depth and talent that Glenn Fukunaga has as a composer and that both he and Joel Guzman have as producers. This final song also demonstrates how a song can be constructed where no one individual carries the tune, it's the parts that make the whole song.  

Overall, the CD is a solid hit. In my opinion, the only thing missing from the CD are a few more songs. I think that Glenn and the gang are holding out on us.

you will have three chances to catch Glenn and the band in May.

Wednesday, May 2: 4:30 PM
Waterloo Records In-Store (Full Band)
FREE Show with Free Shiner Beer!
600 North Lamar, Austin, TX

Thursday, May 3: 7:30 PM - 10 PM
Continental Gallery (Full Band)
1313A S Congress, Austin, TX 78704

Tuesday, May 1: 2:00 PM
Catch Glenn on Studio 1-A with Jay Trachtenberg
KUT 90.5 FM or online at KUT.org

The KUT show will be videotaped for the Austin Jazz Alliance and then uploaded to the Austin Jazz Alliance Youtube Channel for later viewing.

Track Listing: Ha Ha Hawaiian; Song For Glenn; Spacefarten; Drivin’ Into A Donut Hole; Inspite of Color; Paradise Stroll;

Personnel: Glenn Fukunaga: electric and upright bass, ukulele; Joel Guzman: piano; Dony Wynn: drums; Alex Coke: woodwinds; Kevin Flatt: brass