347

Natsuki Tamura / Satoko Fujii: Chun

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Natsuki Tamura / Satoko Fujii: Chun Chun is one of seven new albums released in 2008 by tireless Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii in celebration of her fiftieth birthday. Issued concurrently with Sanrei (BKM), by her Orchestra Nagoya, and Summer Suite (Libra), by her Orchestra New York, Chun is the fourth duet session Fujii has recorded with her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura.

Fujii and Tamura have honed their empathetic rapport in a variety of settings over the past decade, from the massed ensembles of the aforementioned Orchestras to the spare confines of this acoustic duo. Despite the double billing, all of the tunes are penned by Fujii, whose expansive writing offers a rich array of dynamic contrasts. The most intricate endeavors weave turbulent unison lines through labyrinthine themes; the more ethereal fare relies on the duo's sensitive interpretive abilities to provide them with formal constraints.

Fujii and Tamura's vigorous interplay and bracing virtuosity electrifies the rousing opener, "Tokyo Rush Hour," as they tackle the tune's coiled theme with neoclassical flair, deconstructing the core melody with fervid enthusiasm. The title track and "Spiral Staircase" follow suit, with brisk tempos and knotty cadences that border on the baroque. Thorny lines reveal a bounty of creative possibilities as Fujii's incisive arpeggios and Tamura's blustery runs craft harsh angles into dramatic contours. "Infrared" is the culmination of this approach, Tamura's trilled fanfares inspire Fujii's coruscating salvos to unfettered abandon.

"Nudibranch," "Stone Flowers" and "Curt Response" resound with lyrical restraint and conversational empathy, punctuated by interludes of pungent expressionism. Tamura's melancholy whispers compliment Fujii's muted chords as she plies harrowing harmonic variations on "Nudibranch" and he elicits pillowy glisses on "Stone Flowers." "Ultraviolet" abandons traditional structure altogether, unveiling a delicate tone poem of hushed insectoid textures.

The album's exotic, episodic finale, the 21 minute "Triangle" opens with scintillating gamelan-like tones and metallic textures, generated by Fujii's hands-on manipulation of her piano strings. Tamura's ghostly cries exacerbate the haunting atmosphere, building to plangent refrains which Fujii works into sinuous variations before concluding the tune with a rousing bout of pneumatic free improvisation.

Another brilliant document in the growing discography of one of today's most important composers, Chun is a stellar document of two musicians whose sensitive interplay knows no bounds.


Track Listing: Tokyo Rush Hour; Nudibranch; Infrared; Chun; Stone Flowers; Curt Response; Ultraviolet; Spiral Staircase; Triangle.

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

Title: Chun | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Libra Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Hallways CD/LP/Track Review Hallways
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 24, 2017
Read The Crave CD/LP/Track Review The Crave
by John Sharpe
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub) CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965 CD/LP/Track Review Kickin' Child - The Lost Album 1965
by Doug Collette
Published: June 24, 2017
Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Is It Me...?" CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Roots Of Unity" CD/LP/Track Review Roots Of Unity
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "The Journey" CD/LP/Track Review The Journey
by James Nadal
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)" CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.