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Junk Box: Cloudy Then Sunny

Read "Cloudy Then Sunny" reviewed by Troy Collins

Along with Trace a River (Libra, 2008), this is the second concurrent release by the prolific Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii in honor of her fiftieth birthday. Cloudy Then Sunny is the sophomore follow-up to Fragment (Libra, 2006), the debut recording of Junk Box, a collective trio that features Fujii's most probing explorations alongside the highly expressive trumpet playing of her husband, Natsuki Tamura, and the ever resourceful percussionist John Hollenbeck.

Fujii and Tamura have honed their tight-knit rapport over many ...

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Junk Box: Fragment

Read "Fragment" reviewed by Kurt Gottschalk

It must be a daunting job to be the third wheel in a trio with the likes of Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura. The husband-wife piano and trumpet duo are remarkably active. Both are inventive composers leading numerous bands with diverse approaches and each is often in the other's groups. They've got a commonality it would seemingly be hard to step in on. Percussionist John Hollenbeck rises to it, though, and the couple has smarts enough to ...

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Junk Box: Fragment

Read "Fragment" reviewed by Jim Santella

When three creative musicians get together to think outside the box, anything can happen. Pianist Satoko Fujii calls her new trio Junk Box because of the spontaneous aspect of its performance. Part composition and part collective improvisation, her musical pieces are written out in graphic form instead of the usual notation. Composed improvisation means that direction is given, but the artists have plenty of freedom to make spur-of-the-moment choices, which places their goals squarely in the center of jazz's definition.

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Junk Box: Fragment

Read "Fragment" reviewed by Bill Bennett

The prolific and omnidirectional pianist/composer/bandleader Satoko Fujii premieres her “Com-Impro" concept with this recording by her Junk Box trio. She states: “I don't use traditional music notation... for these pieces. I use words and some graphic notation. Although this kind of notation is not so new for contemporary music, it is a new avenue for me to explore."

Junk Box brings percussionist John Hollenbeck together with Fujii and her long-time partner, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura. Methodology aside, the music created is ...

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Junk Box: Fragment

Read "Fragment" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Satoko Fujii is an adventurer. Her music has spoken volumes for her daring as she's gone about her quest for the unusual in settings from solo piano to big band. Here she comes up with the concept of “Com-Impro, which stands for a kind of composed improvisation in which she uses words and graphic notation. She shares this new avenue with her husband, Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), and John Hollenbeck (percussion).

The music on Fragment. springs several surprises, but ...

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Junk Box: Fragment

Read "Fragment" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

A bird chirps a tentative melody over the gentle percussion of plinking raindrops in the beginning of the opening cut on Fragment, “A Dream in the Dawn." Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura supplies the avian input; Satoko Fujii's piano is the rain. Now settle down for the sound of surprise.Junk Box is Satoko Fujii's new trio, and what she's crafted sounds very different from her longstanding trio with drummer Jim Black and bassist Mark Dresser. As always with the Fujii/Tamura ...

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Junk Box: Fragment

Read "Fragment" reviewed by Troy Collins

Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii's new improvisational trio, Junk Box, features the talents of her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, and an extraordinary percussionist, John Hollenbeck. Fujii's diverse, open ended compositions veer from AACM-inspired textural explorations to violent, free rhythmic exchanges, making Fragment full of surprises.

Fujii coined the concept for this trio, “com-impro": composed improvisation. The pre-written sections of this partially arranged music are not traditionally notated--rather, words and graphic notation are used. Despite the cerebral forms at the ...

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Junk Box: Fragment

Read "Fragment" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

The mother of invention left these three ambitiously minded modern jazz stalwarts to pursue matters within a multidirectional discourse. On Fragment, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura entangles an organic sound with trickery and creativity, without any noticeable use of electronics. Besides the growls, squeaks and multiphonics, Tamura abets pianist Satoko Fujii's newly fashioned “com-improv" concept: composed improvisation. And with percussionist John Hollenbeck injecting radiance, timbre and crunching backbeats, the trio revels within semi-structural components.

As a trumpeter, Tamura can sometimes ...


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