Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii: Muku (2012)
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 strikingTamura's yodeling, muezzin-like trumpet cries out over the tumult of Fujii's dramatic, Don Pullen- 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 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