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December 1997

Satoko Fujii
Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii
How Many?
Leo Lab

Indication is Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii's second release in the U.S. It is a solo piano outing and affords the listener ample opportunity to hear Fujii's minimalist style, her use of space and silence. Six of the nine songs are composed by Fujii. The opener, "Itsuki no Komoriuta," is a traditional Japanese folk song given a modern interpretation. Fujii's intros are stately and her approach frequently meditative, as on "Come Spring" and "Vague." She can also startle, though, with sudden, unpredictable changes, as on the tune "210." "Tsuki no sabaku" is full of a suspense one associates with movie soundtracks.

On the release How Many?, she is joined by her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura in a selection of fourteen extremely improvisatory tunes. To say that Tamura produces unusual and distorted sounds on his horn is an understatement. Tamura's trumpet caterwauls through the opening tune, "Akumu" [Nightmare], and on "Lightning Attack," the first bleat of his trumpet literally frightened me. 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.

Originally published in December 1997

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