Amazon.com Widgets

Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii: Muku (2012)

By Published: | 2,405 views
Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii: Muku How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

It's surprising that trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii
Satoko Fujii
Satoko Fujii
b.1958
piano
—partners in music and life—have only recorded five duet CDs during the course of their incredibly prolific and artistically fecund collaboration. As Fujii wryly explains in her liner notes, each of their duet recordings is different—some are entirely freely improvised, others consist solely of compositions written by either Fujii or Tamura. The location—an important metric in the Fujii/Tamura universe—of each duet recording has also been different. Recorded in New York City, Muku consists of nine steely Tamura compositions played with incredible depth and sensitivity by these master musicians. Tamura's writing is highly concentrated, almost crepuscular—his melodies are brief and poignant, sometimes with a twist or two that might take a few listens to fully appreciate. They also serve as a springboard for evocative improvisations by both parties. Throughout Muku, Fujii and Tamura toy with the concepts of composition and improvisation, often balancing somber, minor key chord progressions with outré extended techniques, as on "In Barcelona, In June." Yet, none of this comes across as an intellectual exercise. In fact, the music's warmth and emotional directness is what makes Muku so appealing.

Pretty much the whole CD moves at a deliberate, conversational pace, allowing the music to "soak in" rather than "happen to." Though somber, thoughtful, and subdued moods prevail, the music has a palpable sense of drama. The duo's affinity for Middle Eastern and Eastern European music is especially evident on "Dune and Star," "In Barcelona, In June," and "Patrol." "Dune and Star" is particularly striking—Tamura's yodeling, muezzin-like trumpet cries out over the tumult of Fujii's dramatic, Don Pullen
Don Pullen
Don Pullen
1941 - 1995
piano
- informed avant-piano flourishes and clusters. Fujii's lush, gorgeous solo on "Patrol" wanders so far from the piece's original thread that the reintroduction of the jaunty, almost cartoon-like melody comes as a complete surprise. While "Galvanic" and "Clone" revisit the urgent, turbulent, and chaotic sound worlds for which Tamura and Fujii are best known, "In Paris, In February" is as lyrical, warm, and intimate as anything trumpeter Chet Baker
Chet Baker
Chet Baker
1929 - 1988
trumpet
ever did.

Muku contains some truly stunning, spine-tingling music. The somber, almost melancholic tone of several of the pieces gives the impression that the duo is eulogizing their colleague, bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu, who died shortly before this CD was recorded. Yet, this is not oppressive or heavy music; its sheer beauty and elegance is what lingers the most.

Track Listing: Dune and Star; In Barcelona, In June; Muku; Galvanic; Patrol; In Paris, In February; Clone.

Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Satoko Fujii: piano.

Record Label: Libra Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

A musician was found with a matching name

Name:

Birthday:

Instrument:

Is this you?