Natsuki Tamura | Satoko Fujii | Clouds | Libra Records

libra records 102-006

Natsuki Tamura – trumpet | Satoko Fujii – piano

Recorded at NDR studios in Hamburg, Germany by Ulli Poggensee on February 14, 2001. Sound engineer: Katja Zeidler. Mastered at Foothill Digital by Allan Tucker, September 11, 2001. Cover painting by Ichiji Tamura. Design by Shuichi Yata

Tracklist: 1. Cirrus [5:07] 2. Cumulonimbus [16:06] 3. Stratus [5:54] 4. Cirrocumulus [6:08] 5. Altocumulus [10:46] 6. Stratocumulus [9:43]

Natsuki Tamura | Satoko Fujii | Clouds | libra records

If you’re looking for toe-tapping pipe-and-slipper jazz

forget about Clouds (Libra) by the Japanese husband-and-wife team of Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii. This free-improv session for trumpet and piano is beautifully played and recorded, and recalls the monumental Kenny Wheeler/Paul Bley duets. Tamura has worked to develop a highly personal sound, employing various new techniques and tonal resources, including growls, flutters, squirts and split tones. On the opening atmospheric “Cirrus,” Fujii plays prepared piano and reaches inside to pluck and strum the strings. She and Tamura end up speaking a private language, a kind of musical word salad. It’s mysterious, haunting and startling, and these two know how to play the space between the notes. The 16-minute “Cumulonimbus” is spare and sensitive, with dramatic gestures, spontaneous shifts and dynamic contrasts. Some of this music has a tonal center, even if there is no real key. “Stratus” features long tones played by solo trumpet, while “Cirrocumulus” is stately solo piano. The ominous “Stratocumulus,” with its rolling thunder in the bottom register, is like a storm coming in from across the lake. — Larry Appelbaum

Natsuki Tamura | Satoko Fujii | Clouds | libra records

Top 10 CDs of 2002, William Minor, Coda

Top 10 CDs of 2002, Mike Chamberlain, Coda

Satoko Fujii’s creativity is mind-blowing. Her piano can sound as wild and fiery as Cecil Taylor’s, and it can sound as meditative as Ran Blake’s. Yet, really, she sounds like no one else… ‘Clouds is playful and quiet, making dramatic use of space. ― Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe

Throughout the interplay is exquisite; Fujii and Tamura offer unsentimental beauty, space, silence and humour… Proof that improvised music can be emotionally engaging as well as ear tickling, Fujii and Tamura give us six clouds, all with a solid silver lining. ― Peter Marsh, BBC

Music seems to be the food of love for Tamura and Fujii… They are in harmony on this one as well, even thought most of it is free flowing and fueled by the tempest of their imaginations. ― Jerry D’Souza, Coda

If you are a fan of the enduring spirit of jazz―inspiration through improvisation―this disc is for you.
Michael Ryan, Boston Herald.

…a half-dozen beautiful compositions as protean and rarefied as their names imply. Trumpeter Tamura is fascinating, playing in a style similar to Greg Kelley or Axel Dorner, while Fujii uses her prodigious classical chops in tasteful ways, working at the extremes of dynamics, space and pitch… This is extremely beautiful music, defined by its intelligence and risk. ― Jason Bivins, Cadence

The encounter is at once intimate and abstract, threaded with an understated lyricism that helps lift the music to an uncharted peak of improvisation and interaction. Grade: A. ― Martin Wisckol, Orange County Register

Their performance is free from any conventional style and they are not hastening to form a conclusion. It is based on the trust they have in each other, which is achieved through years of collaboration. This is a lush duo. ― Yoshiyuki Kitazato, Ombasha

… outwardly calm and beautiful, the music unfolds to reveal a complex and often turbulent structure within… Avant-garde jazz has a rich history of less-is-more duets – John Coltrane and Rashid Ali, Cecil Taylor and Max Roach, and Bill Laswell and Peter Brotzman to name but a few. Tamura and Fujii are a welcome addition to this lineage. ― Ted Kane,

On this album the two seem to draw images on a canvas that they create in the moment. They exchange sounds created through well-honed senses which thrill the listeners. ― Toshiaki Uemura, CD Journal

The balance of fast and slow motion in this soundscape is marvelous and it is attractive enough to capture the listeners’ hearts within the first few seconds. Even with a sparseness of notes they are able to let the listeners create their own images, which characterize this piece of work admirably. The album is therefore dense in every part and the listeners will never get bored even with a lengthy, more-than-10-minute tune. ― Satoshi Kojima, Strange Days

Every Fujii appearance, live or on disc, challenges her skills in a new context… One of Fujii’s strengths is her sense of ease; she can write and perform in many styles… Clouds is a far-out but easily approachable disc. ― Steve Koenig, All About Jazz New York

Clouds is an exceptional collection of creative jazz works featuring the best of Fujii and Tamura. ― Lee Prosser,

In the realm of the senses two imaginations entwine. From that first fertile fabric comes sounds that elevate, startle and thrill. ― Jerry D’Souza, All About Jazz

…every once in a while, one comes along that knocks your ears off… a very high quality venture beautifully blending fractured mainstream with fringe-abstract. ― Marc S. Tucker, Exposé

The playing is marvelous and the complicity exemplary. ― François Couture, All Music Guide

Natsuki Tamura | Satoko Fujii | Clouds | libra records


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