A woman’s voice should and will be heard, and Mai Sugimoto creates such a space, in the midst of white chauvinism and anti-Asian resentment, for her monologue, the saxophonist’s sophomore album and first solo effort (Asian Improv Records, 2021). Indeed, Sugimoto’s sound is as naked as ever on what she describes as a visceral response to our troubling times. Recorded in Chicago’s Loop in November 2020, Sugimoto resonates through the studio—and, one imagines, the empty streets—and over the faint roars of the El train. This is ferocity and finesse, and she buoys every note with her abiding sense of humor, exploring sounds and textures with an alto saxophone, flute, percussion, and toys—sometimes simultaneously. Sugimoto’s record reflects what she has felt through the pandemic—mourning, fear, joy, anger, gratitude—to create this monologue: an unmasking, a leap of faith, an I’m speaking, a one-woman show.
1 monologue 9:04
executive producer: TATSU AOKI