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DOUBLE DUO: Natsuki Tamura, Angelo Verploegen, Satoko Fujii, Misha Mengelberg

Crossword Puzzle (2007)

gAn improvisational session that manages to be at once rough-and-tumble and cool-and-collected. Just the right amounts of tension and self-restraint create an exquisite sense of space.h \ Shiro Matsuo, Music Magazine

gTrumpeter Angelo Verploegen writes in the liner notes to Crossword Puzzle that when Amsterdamfs Bimhuis invited him to put together a new group, Fujii and Tamura were is immediate choice to mirror a duo of himself and pianist Misha Mengelbergc All in all itfs a fun disc, but when the group is comprised of composers as engaging as Fujii, Mengelberg and Tamura, itfs hard not to want more.h \ Kurt Gottschalk, All About Jazz

gThey (Mengelberg and Verploegen) converse and dovetail with the amazingly prolific team of trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii in a uniquely textured and beautifully nuanced performance recorded live at Amsterdamfs Bimhuisc At 43:31 this music would have fit on a single vinyl LP and it feels just right: long enough to be satisfying and short enough to leave you wanting more. Crossword Puzzle is a poly-portmanteu packed with creative, adventurous music.h \ Bill Barton, Signal To Noise

gGiven the oddball instrumentation, this could have turned into a mush of sonic overload. Instead itfs a nuanced instant composition sculpted from silencec an enjoyable and unexpected encounter that provides yet another context in which to appreciate the prolific Fujii and Tamura.h \ Stuart Kremsky, IAJRC Journal

gAll four players sound like they had fun dueling with one another, the trumpets tooting and blurting while the pianos do delicate little dancesc The four create a flowing, frisky half-hour of improvisation followed by a ten minute encore where the pianos frolic about like spring lambs. This is an experimental combination that works beautifully.h \ Jerome Wilson, Cadence

gOne long improvisation and one shorter encore piece make for a well-balanced set with the two pianists revealing an exceptional degree of empathy. Indeed their duos for me provided the highlights of this record. Itfs a pairing one would like to hear more of. This is a fine example of the power of free improvisation to cross musical boundaries and produce music that is genuinely more than the sum of its parts.h
\ Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

gEven when the hard-playing soloists collide, they never destroy the overall flow. Maintaining a sure balance between construction and destruction, this is a multidimensional performance in which the players meticulously assemble their music one element at a time – just like words in a crossword puzzle.h
\ Satoshi Kojima, Strange Days

gWith vibes that capture the better moments of Carla Bley or AEC, you can bet this is first-class malcontent music. A must for those that would rather sit when they dig their cerebral jazz.h
\ Chris Spector, Midwest Record

gThis recording is the first collaboration between the four (Fujii, Tamura, Mengelberg, Verploegen) and the result is remarkably satisfying. All four have shown that they can pick a thread and unravel it. They can, as well, latch on to an idea and fill it with their own individualityc The CD runs under 44 minutes but the Double Duo makes every second meaningful.h \ Jerry DfSouza, All About Jazz

gUnlike many other free improv sessions, the music is never gin your faceh but is rather unobtrusive, with quiet and subdued moments altered with intense staccato crescendos, but never chaoticc The great strength of the Double Duo is that they manage to create a coherent approach to their own aesthetic, with lots of openness and creative interplay.h \ Stef, Free Jazz

gThe CDfs high point is the conclusion of ga butterflych showcasing a jocular back-and-forth brass dialog of corkscrewed growls, reaps, ratchets and sniffs while dueling pianos clink and clank behind them.h
\ Ken Waxman, Coda

gWefve reviewed a lot of their releases and from the standpoint of creative artistry, this one is among the bestc GREAT album, volkz!h \ Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation


April Shower (2001)

Criticsf Choice, Sam Prestianni, Jazziz

Top 10 of 2001 \ Benjamin Franklin V, Coda

TOP 5 Female-featured CDs for 2001 \ Thomas Schulte, Womanrock.com

TOP 19 CDs for 2001 \ Thomas Schulte, Outsight

gApril Shower marks another first-rate addition to the young pianistfs growing discography. The entire CD works like this – striking a natural balance between tradition and experimentation, expectation and surprise.h \ Sam Prestiani, Jazziz

gWhat is impressive in these performances is the degree to which Fujii accommodates her collaborators, in terms of composition and approach. The contemplative nature of her work with violinist Mark Feldman is characteristic: composition and improvisation merge seamlesslych \ Bill Bennett, Jazz Times

gcinteresting duets with downtown violin star Mark Feldmanh \ K. Leander Williams, Time Out New York

gIn the span of a few short years, Fujiifs portfolio of projects has blossomed into a formidable discography.  This intimate meeting with Feldman can be counted among her most satisfying to date.h \ Derek Taylor, Cadence

gWhat impressed me deeply about April Shower was its open, heart felt melodic adventuresc On this collection of songs, she is joined by the brilliant jazz violinist Mark Feldman. Both artists soar in this collectionch \ Lee Prosser, JazzReview.com

gFujii is marvel of constant invention. She can flip a melody inside out without blurring logic, and she can take a tune and flesh it without losing sight of the melodic core. Into this ambiance comes violinist Mark Feldman, who shows an easy affinity for the colors of a composition.h \ Jerry DfSouza, Coda

gThis is the sound of vigorous though – and an album of great distinction.h \ John Barrett, JazzUSA.com

gcApril Shower may come as revelation. It s a dark-hued, intimate collaboration with violinist Mark Feldman that explores sonic territory more akin to modern chamber music than jazz per se.h \ Bill Barton, Signal to Noise

gHer beautiful piano compositions have always been among our favorite listeningsc and that is richly enhanced when she is joined by Mark Feldman on violinc this is a wonderful album and is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to anyone who appreciates beauty in their sonic landscapes.h \ Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

gConstant forward motion then characterizes her playing as she glides across the keys then rolls phrases out of the bass.h \ Ken Waxman, Jazz Weekly
gIn general there is definitely an atmosphere of 'downtown' but the music is in fact a mixture of classical musical ideas and improvisations with a downtown feel.  This is the really thrilling and unique music of Satoko Fujii, a true creator who is constantly exploring and fearlessly challenging.  I was so impressed and moved.h \ Ken Yasuhara, FM Fan

gThere are sparse notes in this music but there are, of course, a lot to enjoy.  The sparse use of notes actually enables the essential construction to emerge more realistically and, as a result of that, her uniqueness is well documented in the whole process.h \ Satoshi Kojima, Strange Days

gHer ability as a composer to create  'the world of Satoko Fujii' in full and rich color in any given format is rare.  This time she finds herself in a duo with violinist Feldman who has a beautiful tone.  All performances are beautiful, fantastic and thrilling.  I felt some kind of nostalgia both from loquacious conversations and reticent performances and couldnft help being attracted.h \ Yukinori Omura, Swing Journal

gThe music is constructed without falling into routine.  The sensibility of 'going out' sometimes creates rather a kind of strangely nostalgic sound that makes us feel as if we are coming back to the inside of ourselves.h \ Toshiaki Uemura, Musee

gThe dense conversations and contrasting musicalities of the twosome are very impressive.h \ Yukihiko Sugie, Jazz Life

gOne of her most intimate, tender, and therefore, listener-friendly effortsc Her range of expression, her ability to turn a mood inside out, make this album something to cherishc Highly recommended.h
\ Franois Couture, All Music Guide


Something About Water (1996)

 gDistinguishing Bley from Fujii is guesswork; they play as equals, which represents a considerable achievement on Fujii's part...Fujii displays a shimmering, liquid sound.h \ James Hale, Ottawa Citizen

gSatoko Fujii, the Japanese expatriate pianist who has chosen to match wits with Bley on Something About Water, has absorbed certain aspects of Bley's ringing, spatially minimalist style so well that their duets often sound like the work of one remarkable brain trust. Fujii is quite capable of holding her own, though, and to make this clear, she tacks three edgy, high-contrast solos onto the CD's end.h \ K. Leander Williams, Time Out NY

gMusic that stretches out, pulls at your heart strings, and slaps you in the face. Listen carefully and you can hear blues, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Keith Jarrett. These musicians play on the inside and the outside of the piano and inside and outside the harmonic stream... three solo pieces by Fujii are quite beautiful.h \ Dennis Thurmond, Piano & Keyboard

gThere is similarity in the way Fujii and Bley open up their sensitivities when they play together.  Their duo performances seem like free improvisations through intimate conversation.  The sound flowing from the pianos is fresh.h \ CD Journal

gJapanese pianist Satoko Fujii's Something About Water, her duo piano recording with Bley, proves she's taken her teacher's free-flowing, unrestrained aesthetic to heart.h \ Larry Blumenfeld, Jazziz

gThis series combines two piano voices in subtle, quiet interplay. The music has a crystalline spareness about it, the two players so intertwined it sounds almost like one voice. There is a floating lyricism to the music... like a delicate dance... sheer beauty.h\ Michael Rosenstein, Cadence

gIt's a tribute to both Bley and Fujii as improvisers that in the mercurial sympathy that exists between them you likely can't tell them apart.h \ Stuart Broomer, Coda

gHer tone of aestheticism that has been the trademark of Paul Bley...seems like the flow of crystal-clear water.h
 \ Takabumi Mimori, Swing Journal

gIt takes rare musicians to communicate and improvise in piano duets, but Paul Bley and Satoko Fujii create sounds of nature in expressive style.h \ Jack Burke, Waxworks

gVery well done and powerful modern piano music by two talented innovators and interpreters. Quiet adventures here. Buy.h \ Chris Lunn, Victory Review

gWhile this release can be considered her debut recording, it is a fully mature effort where teacher and student interact as equals – so much so that it is impossible to tell who is playing which partcThe physical unity of sound is purposeful, achieved by how the album was mixed and reflects the unity of spirit that pervaded the sessioncthe sense of control within the freedom is so strong as to be startling.  .With the remarkable Something About Water, the connection to works ten years later such as Minamo (Henceforth, 2007) with Carla Kihlstedt, is clear.h \ Budd Kopman, All About Jazz

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