4

Natsuki Tamura/Satoko Fujii: Muku

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
Natsuki Tamura/Satoko Fujii: Muku The restlessly innovative husband and wife team of trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii have produced some of the most intriguing and invigorating music to come out of Japan. Although rooted in the jazz idiom, their explorations are on universal themes, drawing upon a variety of inspirations. Their work is primarily improvised, but not in the sense of a blowing session and more within the permissive construct of melodic and unconventional compositions.

More often than not, it is Fujii who pens the pieces on their albums, but on Muku—meaning "purity"— it is Tamura who assumes the role of the tunesmith. As the title of this duo recording suggests, the stripped-down sound of two instruments is clean and free of rhythmic flourishes.

The title track opens with crepuscular piano lines blended carefully with silent pauses. The distinctly Japanese melody is played in unison. Tamura peppers the Asian harmonies with Latin sounds. His gentle, breathy horn flutters between carefully placed bursts of Fujii's note clusters. This type of east and west musical amalgamation is one of the album's leitmotifs. "Dune and Star" opens with Tamura's melancholic and longing tones backed by occasional bursts of piano notes. Fujii's atmospheric vamp has strong eastern sensibilities as it plays behind Tamura's bluesy and complex lilting improvisation.

Although a strong lyricism runs through the album, it is not without its share of angular and mordant freedom. "In Barcelona, In June" is a romantic piano sonata enhanced with mellifluous, muted trumpet, which evolves into a fiery, unfettered and edgy extemporized duet.

"Clone" is an avant-garde exploration of the piano's range, with Fujii creating dark soundscapes filled by Tamura's warm yet piercing fills. The seemingly dissonant exchange between the two endows the tune with certain theatricality.

Like a modern day Joe King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton, Muku is a musical summit of kindred spirits that is destined to be a classic.


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

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

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Libra Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Soundscapes" CD/LP/Track Review Soundscapes
by Jim Olin
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Shinjuku Pit Inn
by Nicola Negri
Published: September 9, 2016
Read "Chapters Of My Life" CD/LP/Track Review Chapters Of My Life
by James Nadal
Published: March 16, 2016
Read "Jassemblage" CD/LP/Track Review Jassemblage
by Chuck Koton
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Groovin’ Hard - Live at the Penthouse 1964 - 1968" CD/LP/Track Review Groovin’ Hard - Live at the Penthouse 1964 - 1968
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "Play All the Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Play All the Notes
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 8, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!