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Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura: In Krakow in November

Jim Santella By

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The husband and wife team of Natsuki Tamura & Satoko Fujii continues to make giant strides in bringing avant garde jazz to a wider audience. Their creative adventures recall the excitement wrought by AACM members such as Lester Bowie and Muhal Richard Abrams. Extending their reach around the world, the creative couple forcefully demonstrates what can happen when you let your musical ideas run free.

Their compositions run melodic throughout this live session, allowing impressions to come from both gentle and intense interplay. Fujii and Tamura remain as cohesive as two peas in a pod, supporting each other convincingly without letting up. After all, when you're working alone together as they are on this release, you need to partner up continually, because there's no one else around to help.

Several of the selections on this 2005 duo session ring familiar from their earlier albums. In that respect, the artists have brought in some of their best compositions. With their free, creative spirits on fire, however, we get no reruns. Every interpretation comes as a brand new entity, at once fully explosive and rich with lyricism. At times, Fujii's percussive piano reaches down low and comes up with thundering chords that shout and cry. Similarly, Tamura's mournful trumpet can fly high or low in search of his next surprise. Oftentimes, they both issue plaintive moans that sing like angels on high.

In Kraków, in November and "Strange Village cast impressions of the Eastern European tradition with their slow and deliberate drive. "Ninepin and "Explorer both move lighter with impressions that sparkle like the changing of the seasons. "Morning Mist and "A North Wind take on overt impressions, while "Holothurian issues a slow, mournful climb.

The album closes with "Inori, which moves sensually with deep reflection. As with most art of great quality, the creative music of Fujii and Tamura carries a wide range of impressions. It's up to the listener to capture the essence with open ears. This one can be enjoyed by all.


Track Listing: Strange Village; A North Wind; Morning Mist; Ninepin; A Holothurian; In Krakow, In November; Explorer; Inori

Personnel: Satoko Fujii: piano; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet

Title: In Krakow in November | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Not Two Records

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