All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

Natsuki Tamura/Satoko Fujii: Muku

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Muku

Muku

Libra Records
2012

buy

Warning: mysql_fetch_object(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL result resource in /home/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/content/chunks/cal_related_cached.php on line 39

Related Articles

Read Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh CD/LP/Track Review
Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics CD/LP/Track Review
Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Invisible Atlas CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Atlas
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Blue Dreams CD/LP/Track Review
Blue Dreams
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
Still Dreaming
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 24, 2018
Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Bright Yellow with Bass" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Open Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Open Borders
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 1, 2017
Read "Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Der Dichter Spricht" CD/LP/Track Review Der Dichter Spricht
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 26, 2018
Read "Disconnected" CD/LP/Track Review Disconnected
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "UpRoot" CD/LP/Track Review UpRoot
by David Rocheleau-Houle
Published: December 29, 2017