Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved reader experience across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

5

Natsuki Tamura / Satoko Fujii: Muku

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii—partners in marriage and music—have an extensive discography together, spanning a broad array of ensemble configurations, from Fujii's calamitous big bands to Tamura's European folk song-flavored Gato Libre discs, and from Fujii's propulsive, window-rattling art rock quartets to Tamura's blistering electric quartet of Hada Hada (Libra Records, 2003). But it is in their simple duo of piano and trumpet, where they have recently created some of their most compelling music.

Muko is the pair's fifth duo outing, following 2008's outstanding Chun (Libra Records). Listening to the two recordings back-to-back reveals very different approaches and moods. Chun reflected Fujii's project; she wrote all the tunes, and the sound was intricate and often tempestuous, riding the pianist's mix of breathtaking beauty with sudden tumults; sedate interludes juxtaposed with piano notes bursting like shards from a shattering glass.

Muko, on the other hand, is Tamura's record. His approach here is quieter, more song-like and meditative, and likely to startle. The tunes, all Tamura's, are culled from his previous trumpet/guitar/accordion/bass Gato Libre outings. The tunes, solemn and melodically simple and accessible, are perfect vehicles for the duo format. Tamura's tone is pure beauty, as he eschews, for the most part, his un-trumpet-like squawks, belches, flutters and hissing whispers featured on so many of Fujii's and his more adventurous outings. Fujii is also in a more straightforward frame of mind; with spare accompaniment to Tamura's solemn interludes, there are moments of beautiful melancholy and deeply focused introspection.

"Dune and Star" opens the disc with a plaintive trumpet cry, a lonely fanfare of a sound. Fujii adds brief sparkles, then a reserved feeling of longing with darker notes. "In Barcelona, in June" starts with Tamura sputtering and wailing in front of Fujii's stately playing, the tune gathering momentum in the direction of a joyful dance. The title tune blossoms patiently, sounding like a rumination over life's regrets, in an oddly gorgeous fashion.

The music of Tamura and Fujii moves in many directions. With Muku, the duo has created one of its loveliest and most engaging recordings to date.

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

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

Title: Muku | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Libra Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Nax by Alberto Bazzurro
  • DuDu by Hrayr Attarian
  • DuDu by John Sharpe
  • DuDu by Dan McClenaghan
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Muku by Dave Wayne
  • Muku by Dan McClenaghan
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I'm Going To Eat Dessert
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read 20 CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 43 - Zurich 1950
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
by John Sharpe
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Along The Way" CD/LP/Track Review Along The Way
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "Astoria Roots Live" CD/LP/Track Review Astoria Roots Live
by James Nadal
Published: May 17, 2017
Read "Use Your Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Use Your Imagination
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 21, 2017