Pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura make a fine team. Their musical collaborations are many, involving Fujii's big band as well as several other combines including duo outings. They are back together for the first time in five years exploring tunes that were earlier recorded by their quartet projects.
The pared down approach does not sap the vitality of the compositions. Fujii and Tamura bring a fresh perspective to each, divined by their ability to move past the obvious and pick up the unusual, which makes the CD a worthwhile listening experience.
The music, recorded in the studio of Radio Krakow in Poland, is diverse and serves to profile the many ways in which the two can enrich a tune. The opening tune, "Strange Village, finds Tamura articulating the melody at a deliberate pace with Fujii adding the end note to his lines. Fujii extrapolates that with a sparse undercurrent of runs countered by a thunderous chord. Tamura shades the composition with a change of pace, adding deep hues and gentle swishes.
Fujii is in a lighter mood as she pirouettes into "Ninepin. There is an air of classicism that changes into a free experience as Tamura cuts the melodic line and blows some quick shards that he gathers into cohesive lines. Both sides go to make up an expressive whole. Fujii gets into the free spirit, her playing emphatic and filled with a resonance that gets its soul from her impressive spin of ideas.
"Inori is filled with the graceful tones as Tamura plays the melody, instilling it with a deep passion. Fujii, introspective at first, ups the momentum and then calms the tide with delicacy.
Tamura and Fujii bring in another inventive testament.
Track Listing: Strange Village; A North Wind; Morning Mist; Ninepin; A Holothurian; In Krakow, In November; Explorer; Inori.
Why do I love jazz? Well, depending on what you mean by jazz, I can send an answer in any number of directions. Briefly, I was exposed to this crazy music as a little boy, my dad good friends with the local music store, where he bought sheet music to play from his baby grand
Why do I love jazz? Well, depending on what you mean by jazz, I can send an answer in any number of directions. Briefly, I was exposed to this crazy music as a little boy, my dad good friends with the local music store, where he bought sheet music to play from his baby grand. Their massive record collection, my parents taking me to concerts and clubs (only one of five kids to do so), the Magnavox furniture stereo/radio ... it all added up. It was complex, emotional music. And it had rhythm! I drummed and followed the music through the '60s even as I enjoyed the new musics of my generation.
Along with side-trips to other musicians and music, it's been one hell of a pony ride ever since.