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Swirling with unbridled energy, Satoko Fujii’s quartet forges ahead with creative improvised music that swings. Jazz has to grow. Here’s an ensemble of forward-looking artists who assure us that it will.
Natsuki Tamura’s open trumpet provides a warm and resolute companionship to the pianist’s highly charged dynamism. Fujii moves around the grand piano’s polished keyboard fluidly, finding natural ways to express various themes. Suite-like, her compositions serve the imagination in much the same way that abstract art does. You can enjoy this one again and again, because the impressions lie deeply within.
”First Tango" gives one the rhythmic foundation to sit up and take notice while pianist and trumpeter stroll through “avant” gardens. Stretching with improvised freedom, the quartet turns it loose. And isn’t that the way a tango should affect the audience? Here, we have a powerful quartet that lifts you out of your seat and holds you there, suspended. With April tour dates coming up in Vancouver, Oakland, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, some of us will have the opportunity to see this superb group of improvisers up close and personal.
The year is young; nevertheless, we have a desert island & top ten winner in this third release from Fujii’s remarkable quartet. They’ve been together for several years, and the cohesiveness shows in the way they complement one another through changing moods. Like the west wind, this ensemble’s spontaneous persona moves in unexpected directions while carving out a new face for jazz in the wide-open landscape.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.