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SATOKO FUJII & CARLA KIHLSTEDT: MINAMO

Live


gMany of my favorite gigs this year turned out to be duos. Violinist Carla Kihlstedt and pianist Satoko Fujiifs freely improvised set was impressive for its concentration and commitment. When one player stated an idea she stated it, exactly once, then found its perfect antithesis, rather than diffusing it in elaborations.h \ Nate Dorward, Signal To Noise

gThe performances, which range from melodic interplay to scrabbly noisemaking, are remarkably intuitive, and bode well for Fujii and Kihlstedtfs Vancouver International Jazz Festival performance this week.h\ Alexander Varty, straight.com

gMs. Fujii, a pianist, and Ms. Kihlstedt, a violinist, seek a duo interplay thatfs prickly yet engrossing, mostly improvised but structurally sound.h \ Nate Chinen, New York Times


Kuroi Kawa – Black River (2009)


Jazz Critics Poll: Top New Releases \ Derk Richardson, The Village Voice

gThis might be the best jazz album of the year, or the best album of the year in any style.h \ Alan Young, Lucid Culture

gBoth musicians have great technical prowess, but their collaboration is more about interactions and creative responses than showing offc this music rarely sits still and never falls into cliché. One has to be in the mood to listen, has to understand these pieces go to unexpected and often compelling places. Take a chance and you might be seduced.h \ Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant

gThey have the sensitivity to listen to each other intensely and respond. They are different from male players, making the improvised music richer in a form that has never been heard before. They are discovering their own artistic way.h \ Yoshiyuki Kitazato, omba

gMinamo, the fiercely creative duo comprising violinist Carla Kihlstedt and pianist Satoko Fujii, has done it again. This time the duo comes back together on Kuroi Kawa – Black River, a magnificent two-CD presentationc Despite the ultimately finite nature of the program, something nebulous about the music suggests that this is a journey of epic proportions. The expectation is that this is a legend without end and soon to be continued with fresh genius.h \ Raul dfGama Rose, All About Jazz


gA triumphch \ Chris Spector, Midwest Record
 
gctheir only ambition here is to create something entirely new, never heard before, tearing to pieces what theyfve heard before, but lovingly, and reconstructing it into something entirely differentc The greatest strength of the album is the perfect symbiosis between the two musicians, who find each other seamlessly and manage to deconstruct and to create something as out of one mind and heart.h \ Stef, Free Jazz

gThe astonishing double CD Kuroi Kawa – Black River finds pianists Satoko Fujii and violinist Carla Kihlstedt getting together for a second timec Continuous inspiration and communication is the norm, providing a ride that is both hair-raising and deeply satisfying. Kuroi Kawa – Black River is a supreme example of creative improvised music, and its enormous depth will repay in multiple listens many times over.h
\ Budd Kopman, All About Jazz

gThey (Fujii and Kihlstedt) now get together for a remarkable duo collaboration. With one CD presenting the meticulous detail of the recording studio, the other the wild passion and improvisational exploration of a live concert, this is new cutting edge chamber music for the 21st century.h \ Downtown Music Gallery

gExploring the myriad of timbral possibilities of the violin/piano sonata format, the duofs brief studio excursions embrace a wealth of sonic detailc the long-form improvisations of the second disc reveal the duofs unflagging energy and conversational rapportc Kuroi Kawa – Black River is improvised chamber music that ignores boundaries and confounds preconceptions at every turn.h \ Troy Collins, Point of Departure


Minamo (2007)


Top Duo Recording \ David R. Adler, The Year in Review, Lerterland

gMinamo is extraordinary, a series of tight, dramatic eventsc Both musicians play with virtuosic precision and a great range of technique. The whole record, but especially the second concert, runs on its own vivid tension.h \ Ben Ratliff, New York Times

gMs. Fujii, a pianist, and Ms. Kihlstedt, a violinist, seek a duo interplay thatfs prickly yet engrossing, mostly improvised but structurally sound.h \ New York Times

gViolinist Kihlstedt and pianist Fujii create with and off each other in these four dramatic improvised duos.h
\ Briefly Noted, The Gazette (Montreal)

gDrawn from two concerts in 2002 and 2005, the music is purely and entirely improvised, nothing more (and nothing less) than two players responding to each other, feeling their way along. Satoko Fujii is wild enough and original enough in her own right.h \ Steve Greenlee, Jazz Times

gThe violin and piano combination lends itself to a certain stateliness that these two tricksters use to their advantage in these wide ranging dialogs. Their highly individualized responses to the duo situation and their focused virtuosity combine to make these engaging and astute excursions worthy of repeated listenings.h
\ Stuart Kremsky, IAJRC Journal

gThis is highly improvised music with two players who clearly know where the other is goingc This is not a toe-tapper nor a melodic bit of fun; it is intense and experimental, but the two musicians are uniquely intertwined.h \ Kyle OfBrien, Jazz Society of Oregon

gFrom the opening notes the two are charging and sawing together, listening and bouncing off one anotherfs ideas. This CD shows what happens when two great improvisers get together with nothing but their imaginations and their ears open for signposts.h \ Jerome Wilson, Cadence

gThe latter set meshes better, probably because the violinist is more aggressive. The pianist can brawl with the best of them, but she tends to hold back when not provoked.h \ Tom Hull, tomhull.com

gThought provoking and free, Minamo features some music for people with an inquisitive set of ears that will enlighten the soul and free the mind.h \ George Harris, All About Jazz

gIndeed, they manage to create four pieces of magnificent and captivating interplay. It is amazing how Fujii manages to play patterns while still keeping the music sufficiently open to keep all new options possiblec This music will not appeal to all jazz fans, because it isnft jazz, but itfs great music.h \ Steph, Free Jazz

gThe duo gracefully vacillates between supporting and soloist roles, avoiding predictable climaxes and allowing their conversation to run its natural course.h \ Matthew Miller, All About Jazz New York

gFrom the Henceforth label comes a cracking duo between two intense players, and a great chance to hear Fujii improvising outside the context of her own complicated compositions.h \ Jason Bivins, Signal To Noise

gFor listeners who enjoy free, truly spontaneous improvisation and the combination of violin and piano, Minamo with violinist Carla Kihlstedt and pianist Satoko Fujii cannot be recommended highly enoughc Part of the joy of listening to Minamo are the many different sounds and textures created both individually and together. Excitement is never far away as the smallest seed is seized upon and then expanded – this is what makes the record wonderful.h \ Budd Kopman, All About Jazz

gThese musicians listen to each other, really listen and respond judiciously without ever sounding tentativec While itfs not exactly geasyh listening, therefs nothing overbearing or foreboding about Minamo.h
\ Mark Keresman, JazzReview.com

gThe playing is absolutely beautiful, and oddly enough itfs beautiful in that classical way in which you might separate an individualfs performance from the music that he or she is playing. There are moments that are executed so well it wouldnft matter what the notes arec The way the two choose pure sound to frame one another is also noteworthy. Not so much a triumph of improvised over the composed, rather itfs improvised music thatfs acting like a special kind of composition.h \ Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure

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