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Under the Water (2009)

**** \ Downbeat
Jazz Critics Poll: Top New Releases \ John F. Szwed, The Village Voice
Best CD of 2009 \ Wayne Zade, Jazz Tokyo
Recommended New Releases \ All About Jazz New York
Top 25+ \ David Adler, Jazzhouse Diaries
Top 10 of 2009 \ Bill Barton, WBCS 91.3

gUnder The Water presents a gamut of pianistic approaches.h  ⎯  James Hale, DownBeat

gBoth Fujii & Melford are among the most exciting cutting-edge jazz key-crackers walking the earthc Water is demanding music, but for those valuing subtle and spontaneous interaction, it holds many rewards.h ⎯ Mark Keresman, East Bay Express

gTwo very intelligent musicians, dynamic improvisers, and fearless sonic explorers.h ⎯ Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant

gBoth women are defiant in their efforts to free the piano from any restraints or expectations. Instead of melodies, there are moods. Instead of swinging, there is pounding (not all the time, just sometimes). Explosions of sound are fairly common. But so are elegiac passages haunted with heartbreak. Most fascinating to my ear is the way Fujii creates the feeling of drawn-out silencec Instead of trying to outdo each other, they are pushing each other to do more.h \ Chuck Graham, JazzBeat

gItfs brilliant and captivating – this CD is a true surprise and makes great traveling music.h ⎯ Peter Bates, Audiophile Audition

gWe enjoy their free improvisation. While unexpected playing is developed, something from inside the musicians comes out brilliantly.h \ Toshiaki Uemura, CD Journal

gEven with the two-piano improvisation, the music has a logical development, and Fujii and Melford are a perfect combination.h \ Satoshi Kojima, Strange Days

gThe dynamic range of this recording will give your sound system a workoutc A gorgeous release.h \ Stuart Kremsky, IAJRC Journal

gIt makes ripples, getting hotter, and then gives a thunderbolt with a moment of humor. Its tense breath is long but far away from verbose, and their voices meltc we cannot make a distinction between them.h ⎯ Shiro Matsuo, Music Magazine

gWhether performing solo or in unison, Melford and Fujii work as masters of invention via massive chord clusters, and dainty delicaciesc The musicians generate an exhilarating sequence of events, as they convey remarkable synergy and intuitiveness throughout the sum of the intricately moving parts.h ⎯ Glenn Astarita, Jazz Review.com

gWhile the titles are evocative of water images, the music still triumphantly stands on its ownc for fans of totally improvised music this recording shows how it should be done, and for practitioners of free jazz, let this recording guide and show you the errors so many of you create.h \ Thomas R. Erdmann, Jazz Review

gEven when Fujii doesnft make any sound, her energy pulsates gunder the waterh like a torrent. When the two streams collide, their energy sets off, making a quiet stream in the shallow. These are two pianists but just one voice.h \ Yoshiyuki Kitazato, omba

gI canft recall the last time I heard a disc of a two-piano performance, but this is without a doubt one that transcends any Ifve heard before.h  ⎯  Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

gWhen these extraordinary innovators get together, the result is electrifying.h  ⎯ Jerry DfSouza, All About Jazz

gUnder The Water is a particularly pleasant surprise, a piano duo by Myra Melford and Satoko Fujii that has everything one could want from such a meeting; each of their sensibilities are distinctly present, but they persevere in creating a common platform as well, finding something new yet recognizable from the perspective of either player. Under The Water is a wholly satisfying encounter.h  ⎯ Kurt Gottschalk, All About Jazz

gThese two improv legends tear it up together and solo in a date that will sate your taste for exploration for a while. Wild stuff that could only spring from minds that follow their own muses, their sonic journey under water shows that space isnft the only place.h  ⎯ Chris Spector, Midwest Record 

gThe improvisational nature of this music makes it interesting. A water theme brings cohesion to the compositions, and the inventiveness of pianists Fujii and Melford are impressive.h \ Kyle OfBrien, Jazz Society of Oregon

gThe solos lay out their kits nicely, including a barnstorming run by Fujii. The duets are more respectful, often with one rumbling on the bottom end wile the other waxes eloquent.h \ Tom Hull, Tom Hull.com

gcit seems the pair may never find a way inside. But they do – and when it happens itfs a gorgeous thing.h
\ Mark Seleski, Jazz.com

gTo say Under The Water exceeded my expectations is putting it mildly. As soon as the CD finished, I couldnft wait to hear it again. One of the very best Ifve heard this year.h  ⎯ Craig P, Jazz Corner

gIf there is any remaining ambiguity about what is meant by duo and duet, there is certainly no doubt that these two women create a sound that is both individual and highly communicative.h
\ Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure

gThe solos are tremendous; you would have expected that. Itfs the duets that knocked me outc Fujii and Melford have a single-mindedness and sense of direction thatfs astonishing.h \ Improvised

gUnder The Water is a luminous session of outstanding piano improvising.h \ Ken Waxman, Jazz Word

gTherefs a kindred fluidity and motion to this recent meeting of two ceaselessly creative improvising pianists.h \ Bill Barton, Signal To Noise

gOne of the most exciting piano albums of recent years, this Myra Melford/Satoko Fujii collaboration is an intense, often ferociously haunting yet sometimes extremely funny album.h  ⎯  Alan Young, Lucid Culture

gThis is a classic meeting of personality, vision and creativityc Fujii and Melford perform with urgency and honesty, conducting their individual performances as responses to the other and allowing true imagination to bloom through the splendor of sound.h \ Jordan Richardson, Blogcritics Music

gThis is a GIANT album that deserves some serious listening, and you have never listened to anything as unique as thisc Water one of the most invigorating piano duos I have ever heard.h
 ⎯ Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

gThe marriage of minds and spirit here is a spirited union and in fact quite a splash.h
\ D. Oscar Groomes, Ofs Place

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