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

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
  • Nax by Alberto Bazzurro
  • DuDu by Hrayr Attarian
  • DuDu by John Sharpe
  • DuDu by Dan McClenaghan
Extended Analysis
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Nax

Nax

Creative Sources Recordings
2015

buy
DuDu

DuDu

Libra Records
2014

buy
Natsuki Tamura: Dragon Nat

Natsuki Tamura:...

Libra Records
2014

buy
 

Dragon Nat

Leo Lab
2013

buy
Muku

Muku

Libra Records
2012

buy
Cut the Rope

Cut the Rope

Libra Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read After the Rain: A Night for Coltrane Album Reviews
After the Rain: A Night for Coltrane
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 21, 2019
Read Cadillac Turns Album Reviews
Cadillac Turns
By Troy Dostert
April 21, 2019
Read A Pride Of Lions Album Reviews
A Pride Of Lions
By John Sharpe
April 21, 2019
Read Sunburst Finish Album Reviews
Sunburst Finish
By Glenn Astarita
April 21, 2019
Read This Should Be Fun Album Reviews
This Should Be Fun
By David A. Orthmann
April 20, 2019
Read Transoceanico Album Reviews
Transoceanico
By Patrick Burnette
April 20, 2019
Read Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection Album Reviews
Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 20, 2019