Satoko Fujii Quartet: Minerva (2002)
Pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura have picked up the gauntlet. The husband/wife team's battle for artistic freedom earns them a gold medal this time out. Last year’s Vulcan and Clouds made a lasting impression, but their new album wins in all categories. Avant- garde rock, free jazz, modern mainstream, new music, and creative music merge into one satisfying session. Tamura’s soulful theme on “Weft” soars gracefully over a strong foundation. Tatsuya Yoshida’s distinctive rock beat throughout “Warp” forms a familiar path to contrast with the song’s intro, which features his electronically processed vocalizing. Later, Takeharu Hayakawa’s virtuosic bass solo in “Weft” leads to a frantic quartet jam. Improvisation rules.
Fujii’s creative piano journeys connect these original pieces to the tradition of jazz. Plucked piano strings and eerie vocal mechanics serve to add a fresh aroma to the quartet’s collective voice. As they stroll hand in hand through “Caught in a Web,” for example, the artists embellish its firm, musical walkway with sizzling cymbals, pedal moans, brassy screams, hoarse sustains, and perky piano counterpoint. Every bar is an adventure to be savored again and again.
Track Listing: Tatsu Take; Warp; Selvedge; Weft; Caught in a Web.
Personnel: Satoko Fujii- piano; Natsuki Tamura- trumpet; Takeharu Hayakawa- electric bass; Tatsuya Yoshida- drums, voice.