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NATSUKI TAMURA  &  SATOKO FUJII


Live

gOur picks for the best of the festc Though she needed a stool extension to sit at the keyboard properly, her musical presence is anything but small. She has a way of pulling the most powerful and expressive sounds out of the pianoc And the pair is better than the sum of its parts. Intuition and communication like that is rare.h
\ Adam Kinner, The Gazette (Montreal)

gcthe duos with Tamura explore a variety of moods with the most delicate of textures.h \ Mike Chamberlain, Ottawa Express

gThis is music loaded with playful musical dialog and melodic, polyrhythmic exchangesc Augmented here by the wildly-creative Fujii, one of the most original voices on her instrument, and the equally-compelling Tamura, this special performance will feature both familiar and unfamiliar musical dialects presented in a concert like none other.h \ Earshot

gctheyfll be joined by two of Japanfs most adventurous and celebrated jazz musicians, Satoko Fujii on synthesizer and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura.h \ Andrew Gilbert, Contra Costa Times

gShefs an abstract expressionist who uses clusters – intimate fingerings – and manages to find rhythmic motifs in free playing. She lands at the Metropol, Saturday, with her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura. Together they engage in rewarding give-and-take exchanges.h \ Los Angeles City Beat

gTonight at Jazz at the Bistro, itfs an evening of international avant garde jazz from pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura.h \ St. Louis Jazz Notes

gcthe addition of keyboardist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura broadens the scope considerably. This is a crew who can confidently move from extremely minimalist high-note suspensions to dynamically-composed freedom-riffing, even during the course of a single composition.h
\ Martin Longley, The Stirrer

gTamura and Fujiifs ability to fit into any musical scene is really something. Their musical backbone is upright, but they play by ear like nomads.h \ Mariko Okayama, Jazz Tokyo

gTamura and Fujiifs music never decreases in power, even though I have heard them many times.h
\ Manabu Yuasa, Zipang News

gIt was 1997 when Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii moved back from America. Since then the two have been breathing fresh life into their music. Fujiifs scores jump across jazz and rock to ethno and all others. Astonishment is still alive.h \ Masahiko Yuh, Asahi Newspaper

gUsing every inch of her pianofs keyboards and every nuance of his trumpetfs capabilities, Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura appeared at Café Metropol in Los Angeles to begin an extended tour in the name of avant-garde jazzc The duo shared their creative ideas through two extended sets for a rapt audience.h
\ Jim Santella, All About Jazz

gShe lands at the Metropol, Saturday, with her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura. Together they engage in rewarding give-and-take exchanges.h \ Los Angeles City Beat

 gThese are two clearly creative and hyper-productive musicians who must never sleep!h \ Robert Iannapollo, All About Jazz

gFujii and Tamura have honed their empathetic rapport in a variety of settings over the past decade.h \ Troy Collins, All About Jazz

Muku (2012)

Jazz Journalists Association Best & Notable Releases of 2012 \ W. Royal Stokes

WMUAfs Top 50 Jazz CDs of 2012 \ Ken Irwin

All About Jazz Best Releases of 2012 – Dan McClenaghan

 g4 STARScListening to husband-wife team Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura improvise, either alone together or as part of the quartet Gato Libre, provides a window into their relationship and unique world of soundcFujii has a broad repertoire of techniques, stretching from spare, resonant gestures to fulsome, propulsive chords.h
\ James Hale, DownBeat

gLike a modern day Joe eKingf Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton, Muku is a musical summit of kindred spirits that is destined to be a classic.h \ Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz

 gTherefs a give and take to these duets that comes from playing together since the early f90s, but nothing is ever by rote. Tamurafs spiky trumpet reaches stratospherically and subsonically, zigzagging in all directionscAnd Fujiifs deep harmonic conception covers all bases as well, giving him plenty of leeway.h
\ Robert Iannapollo, The New York City Jazz Record

gThe indefatigable duo brings a sense of exploration and lyricism to everything they do.h \ Jazz Inside Magazine

gMuku is another sustaining release from Fujii and Tamura. Theirs is a relationship that seems to exist on another musical level, one where inspiring one another is always in the cards and pushing the listenerfs boundaries while charming the palette is always on the agenda.h \ Jordan Richardson, Something Else! Reviews

gMuku contains some truly stunning, spine-tingling musiccits sheer beauty and elegance is what lingers the most.h \ Dave Wayne, All About Jazz
 
gSatoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura are improvisers on the same level of exploration as Morton Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier. Their work together is far-reaching and minimalistic but provides hidden harmonies that slowly open up to the listenercelements of subtle beauty laid throughout Muku that should make this a richly satisfying experiment for those seeking something different to listen to right now.h \ Stephan Moore, JazzWrap

gNatsuki and Satoko sound as if they have been playing together for many years, they weave their notes and complete each otherfs lines in a unified communion of the spirits. They also seem to enjoy pushing or surprising each other with odd changes in direction or dynamic. It has been a little while since we have had a new disc from either of these great players so letfs rejoice and enjoy this gem while it is still new.h \ Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

gca real gem in this duo setcTamurafs tone is pure beauty, as he eschews, for the most part, his un-trumpet-like squawks, belches, flutters and hissing whispers featured on so many of Fujiifs and his more adventurous outings. Fujii is also in a more straightforward frame of mind: with spare accompaniment to Tamurafs solemn interludes, there are moments of beautiful melancholy and deeply focused introspectioncWith Muku, the duo has created one of its loveliest and most engaging recordings to date.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gA powerful performance giving a new twist to known tunes. And Muku makes an interesting companion to Chun. Both shall now be regarded as sides of a single coin.h \ François Couture, Monsieur Délire

gIn all of Fujii and Tamurafs work here, composition and improvisation seem to melt into one. Interaction, affinity, creatively, and intense listening are what makes their music work.h \ Amy Duncan, Jazz History Online

gTamura may well be the most under rated and over looked trumpet player on a global scale. Pianist Fujii is the yin to his yang and together they bridge a magically sonic gap creating very special music for a global audience. An absolute delight!h \ Brent Black, Critical Jazz

 gThe Japanese free fusion duo continues to produce electrifying music that presses the envelope beyond traditional boundaries. The soothing chords of Satoko Fujiifs piano temper Natsuki Tamurafs aggressive trumpet lines. This is their fifth collaboration and they seem to get better each time.h \ D. Oscar Groomes, Ofs Place Jazz Newsletter

gThis duo of musicians have been performing and creating music for a long time and it shows in how well the instruments dovetail with each other.h \ John M. Peters, The Borderland

 gctheir styles clash and the instruments tend to separate out, a thrill when Fujii breaks out knocking chords every which way.h \ Tom Hull, Jazz Prospecting
 
gTamurafs palette is broader than on the Gato Libre date: on eIn Barcelona, In June,f his breathy, sputtering effects, delivered over Fujiifs earnest tango chords, give way to altogether more conventional trumpet mastery, just as Fujiifs playing purposively flies further into Cecil Taylor-like extravagance. Indeed, itfs a compact distillation of the range and breadth of the pairfs musical conception.h \ Jeff Dayton-Johnson, All About Jazz

gAny time I get music in from Natsuki & Satoko, I know my ears are in for a treat, but the tireless duo has outdone themselves on this excellent release. The opener, eDune and Star,f literally glows with their cosmic high-energy, low drag approach to the trumpet/piano duet.h \ Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

gcmusic of reflection and introspectioncdramatic, compassionate yet structured performancescNicely done and a pleasure to hear.h \ Grego Edwards, Gapplegate Music Review

 gctwo of the key players from Gato Libre stripping down to just the two of them for one of their duo face offscminimalist, samurai jazzc.h \ Chris Spector, Midwest Record


Chun
(2008)

Honorable Mention \ Jazz Consumer Guide, The Village Voice
Best CD of the Year  ⎯ Wayne Zade, Jazz Tokyo
2008 Top 10 \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
Must Have for 2008 \ Vallejonocturno
List of Excellent New Music  ⎯ Free Jazz (Japan)
Must Have \ Stef, Free Jazz

g**** Fujiifs orchestral technique, clear chromatic lines and gprepared pianoh devices contrast effectively with Tamurafs arsenal of extended techniques which he executes with a warm, vocalized tone throughout the trumpetfs full range.h \ Ted Panken, DownBeat

gHusband and wife duets, his trumpet warm and supportive, her piano stark and brash.h
\ Tom Hull, The Village Voice

gChun features the husband and wife in a program composed by Fujii that allows them to interact and let loose.h\ Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant

gThe music of Chun is adventurous, rigorous, and thoroughly engrossing. It's another irresistible outing by Fujii and Tamura.h  ⎯ Stuart Kremsky, The IAJRC Journal

gTrumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii work in a variety of ensemble configurations, but their duet discs are particularly enriching listening experiences.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gAnother brilliant document in the growing discography of one of todayfs most important composers, Chun is a stellar document by two musicians whose sensitive interplay knows no bounds.h
 ⎯ Troy Collins, All About Jazz

gWhat sets this apart from a lot of modern eenergy musicf is the obvious fact that Tamura and Fujii are also engaged in an exercise in very deep listening. Musical thoughts come together as they construct a pulsing wall of sound, then attempt to smash it to bits.h  ⎯ Mark Saleski, Jazz.com

gWhen Satoko holds the pedal down, we hear layers of shimmering chords and feel like we are at the bottom of the ocean. On eInfrared,f the duo swirls quick lines of notes around one another mischievously. There is a consistent connection of spirits here as both musicians work perfectly togetherc Chun is yet another gem from the wonderful Fujii/Tamura team.h  ⎯ Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

gIn which Fujii gets in touch with her Yoko Ono side and expresses herself through her long running improv duo finding her piano working out against a trumpet as the two play, push, cajole and lock horns throughout.h
\ Chris Spector, Midwest Record

gPerhaps because theyfre involved in so many other projects, when they come back to the duo, it still sounds fresh and inventivec Therefs a lot of textural variety in these tracks as wellc an almost telepathic communication between these two when they are in a duet situation.h \ Robert Iannapollo, All About Jazz

gFujiifs music is a delicious mix of opposites: melody and pure sounds, intense energy and calm introspection, audible flowing structure and freedom, to name a few. There is joy, fearlessness and not a little humor in her performances, allowing them to be approached from any number of angles; she pours herself completely into every notec Chun opens up another viewpoint into the highly creative world of Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura.h  ⎯ Budd Kopman, All About Jazz

gFujii is as creative as ever with her compositions. The dynamics and pace hit extremes and the melodies are very challenging.h  ⎯ D. Oscar Groomes, Ofs Place



In Krakow, In November (2006)

New and Noteworthy \ Jazziz
Top Ten of the Year \ Bill Barton, Coda
Honorable Mention \ Tom Hull, Jazz Consumer Guide, The Village Voice
Top Duo Recordings 2007 \ David Adler, Lerterland

gThere is a whiff of sorrow or nostalgia in this music, but it is not at all dark; with every listening, new flavors emerge.h \ Shiro Matsuo, Music Magazine

gVery intelligent musicc I would go out and hear them.h \ Donald Byrd, Opening Chorus, Jazz Times

gFor their fans, the compositions are familiarc Here, however, they achieve new heights of expression. Melody and introspection are the keys to In Krakow. The title-track offers a haunting East European vision, with Tamura's playing showing a melancholy power reminiscent of Miles Davis's Lift To The Scaffold. eMorning Mistf is another Gato Libre piece, which here achieves a rapt impressionism. The album closes with eInorif, luminous and reflective.  Though her standards are high, there's something about this album's affecting intensity that puts it in the category of Fujii's very finest recordings.h  \ Andy Hamilton, The Wire
 
gTamura and Fujii reflect an even stronger Buddhist interest in creating stillness while moving with rhythmc it clearly points to new possibilities. Could there be in the performances by Tamura and Fujii some hints of new ways to reach the suppressed emotional buttons of our digital times? It seems likely.h
\ Chuck Graham, Tucson Citizen

gcthis is perhaps the nicest trumpet/piano duet album Ifve heard. Fujii and Tamura are partners, musically and personally, and it shows in this charming and well-balanced set. I donft intend to single out any particular pieces – theyfre all beautifully constructed themes that allow both players to improvise freely and with great skill and poisec It matches elegance with authority and artfulness with a capacity to seduce the listenerc An album that will continue to unfold its pleasures.h \ Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

gThe husband and wife team of Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii continues to make giant strides in bringing avant-garde jazz to a wider audience. Their creative adventures recall the excitement wrought by AACM members such as Lester Bowie and Muhal Richard Abramsc Every interpretation comes as a brand new entity, at once fully explosive and rich with lyricism. Oftentimes, they both issue plaintive moans that sing like angels on high. Itfs up the listener to capture the essence with open ears. This one can be enjoyed by all.h
\ Jim Santella, All About Jazz

gFor the occasion, the duo elected to revisit a cross-section of their European folk-influenced pieces. Each song has carefully been re-thought as a piano/trumpet duet... In Krakow, In November offers a lulling evening listen, somewhere between Satie (eStrange Village,f and eMorning Mistf) and Lennie Tristano (eInori,f breathtaking). The approach may be of the less-is-more vein, but the music turns out to be heavy with feeling. In Krakow, In November is a natural follow-up purchase for those who have been seduced by Gato Libre.h
\ François Couture, All Music Guide

gNo matter their surroundings, from large scale big band sessions and aggressive, electronic, rock-influenced ensembles to intimate acoustic recordings like this one, they demonstrate a wealth of conversational acumen. Recorded at the radio studios of Radio Krakow, the married duo is captured up closer and personal, every subtle nuance caught on tape. In this unadorned, acoustic setting, Fujii and Tamurafs sublime interaction and loquacious dialogue embodies near telepathic perfection.h \ Troy Collins, Cadence

gIn Krakow, In November is a duo outing with just piano and trumpet, unadorned. Melody takes center stage, showcasing both Tamurafs and Fujiifs strengthsc With just the two instruments on this disc, we hear more of the pure essence of the compositions, revealing an engaging playfulness and often serene introspection, mixed with some of the characteristic Fujii/Tamura intensity.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gIncessant touring schedules and a recorded output that rivals label contracts of the e60s can make the almost incessantly productive duo of Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura hard to keep up with. As such their duets can be seen as annual reports, an updating of where their various spokes are pointing. In Krakow, In November is a strong showing of their recent interestsc. Fujii and Tamura play beautifully together.h \ Kurt Gottschalk, All About Jazz New York

gThis one keeps growing on mec solidly built, powerful music.h \ Tom Hull, On the Web

gThe spouses Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura do it again: and how! This CD is wonderful from beginning to endc This is modern jazz of the highest level, played by a couple that has an intimate musical relationship and perfect mastering of their instruments. Fantastic!h \ Stef, Free Jazz
gThe program features five Tamura originals and three by Fujii. The latter has begun to receive the widespread acclaim she so justly deserves for her compositions; Tamura is past-due for similar plaudits. Intimate, lyrical and passionate, In Krakow, In November is a must-hear.h \ Bill Barton, Coda

gPianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura make a fine team. They are back together for the first time in five years exploring tunes that were earlier recorded by their quartet projects. Fujii and Tamura bring a fresh perspective to each, divined by their ability to move past the obvious and pick up the unusual, which makes the CD a worthwhile listening experience.h \ Jerry DfSouza, All About Jazz

gFor those listeners not familiar with Fujiifs or Tamurafs music, In Krakow, In November could be the perfect introduction. Many pieces have a distinctly classical feel and clear harmony and structure, along with others that are quite free.h \ Budd Kopman, All About Jazz

gWe were able to appreciate the tones and feeling of each note with the more open soundstage of these two accomplished musicians.h \ D. Oscar Groomes, Ofs Place



Clouds (2002)

Top 10 CDs of 2002, William Minor, Coda

Top 10 CDs of 2002, Mike Chamberlain, Coda

gThis 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 highly personal sound, employing various new techniques and tonal resources, including growls, flutters, squirts and split tonesc Itfs mysterious, haunting and startling, and these two know how to play the space between the notes.h \ Larry Appelbaum, JazzTimes

gSatoko Fujiifs creativity is mind-blowing. Her piano can sound as wild and fiery as Cecil Taylorfs, and it can sound as meditative as Ran Blakefs. Yet, really, she sounds like no one elsec eClouds is playful and quiet, making dramatic use of space.h \ Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe

gThroughout the interplay is exquisite; Fujii and Tamura offer unsentimental beauty, space, silence and humourc 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.h \ Peter Marsh, BBC

gMusic seems to be the food of love for Tamura and Fujiic 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.h \ Jerry D'Souza, Coda

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

gca 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 pitchc This is extremely beautiful music, defined by its intelligence and risk.h \ Jason Bivins, Cadence
gThe 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.h \ Martin Wisckol, Orange County Register

gTheir 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.h  \ Yoshiyuki Kitazato, Ombasha

gc outwardly calm and beautiful, the music unfolds to reveal a complex and often turbulent structure withinc 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.h \ Ted Kane, JazzReview.com

gOn 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.h \ Toshiaki Uemura, CD Journal

gThe 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.h \ Satoshi Kojima, Strange Days

gEvery Fujii appearance, live or on disc, challenges her skills in a new contextc One of Fujiifs strengths is her sense of ease; she can write and perform in many stylesc Clouds is a far-out but easily approachable disc.h \ Steve Koenig, All About Jazz New York

 gClouds is an exceptional collection of creative jazz works featuring the best of Fujii and Tamura.h \ Lee Prosser, JazzReview.com

gIn the realm of the senses two imaginations entwine.  From that first fertile fabric comes sounds that elevate, startle and thrill.h \ Jerry DfSouza, All About Jazz

gcevery once in a while, one comes along that knocks your ears offc a very high quality venture beautifully blending fractured mainstream with fringe-abstract.h \ Marc S. Tucker, Exposé

gThe playing is marvelous and the complicity exemplary.h \ François Couture, All Music Guide



How Many? (1997)

 gTamura's trumpet caterwauls through the opening tune... Fujii serves as the ideal foil, with an intuitive sense of when to underscore or contrast Tamura's blowing. Their music catches you unaware, creating tension and intrigue.h  \ Marcela Breton, JazzTimes

gIf you turn up the volume and attune your antennae to the tonal and textural subtleties of Natsuki Tamura's trumpet and Satoko Fujii's piano, you'll hear a rare breed of mood-derived propulsion... Fujii's solo, 'Kaleidoscope,' recalls her delicate but salient lyricism...h \ Sam Prestianni, Jazziz

gFujii is above all a lyrical player, concerned not so much with momentum but with color, texture, and melody. Her playing exudes vulnerability and spontaneity, even as it possesses a great vitality. Tamura's is a similar sensibility. Though his playing is clearly and primarily jazz-based, he draws upon a variety of sources; he style evinces a certain familiarity with contemporary classical techniques... Together Tamura and Fujii construct perfect little structures; their collaboration is balanced, astute, and very musical. A lovely album.h \ Chris Kelsey, Cadence

gAnyone complaining about the lack of "something different" hasn't heard the music of Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and her husband Natsuki Tamura. Their sounds are a potent mix of passion and calculated madness...Satoko...plays a percussive piano that first brings to mind Paul Bley (with whom she's recorded extensively, including the 1996 session, Something About Water)...h\ Rick Marx, Jazz Central Station

gReflective of human moods... It's an improv excursion you won't soon write off... stimulating and challenging... a quite intriguing listen. Recommended.h \ Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

gCreating their own new jazz, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii, piano, treat us to 14 pieces of much merit, free-flow improvisation, too.h \ Jack Burke, Waxworks

gAn intriguing, if unsettling musical adventure... The blowing is free and robust, with an emphasis on maximum expressiveness by both players, in the tradition of the 1960s free jazz movement and its disciples. Fujii draws on European impressionists and the classical avant-garde as well as improvisational mentors like Cecil Taylor, Don Pullen, and Paul Bley... Tamura is an insane trumpet player... Weird, subterranean, hilarious, wickedly creative music.h \ Michael J. Williams, American Reporter

gShe approaches the instrument with an assertive hand and commanding determination, reeking havoc with her volatile infusions of thunder and lightening. Without notice, she shifts gears, changes direction, and sketches lovely ballad-oriented free sequencesc The music dovetails between extremes, generating thrilling emotional surges that shatter when Fujii allows the passages to freefall to subdued levels of placidity.h \ Frank Rubolino, Cadence


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