This Double Duo of trumpets and pianists was at first a spontaneous idea proposed by Angelo Verploegen, and realized at a live performance in Amsterdam, The Netherlands at the Bimhuis. It is a fully conscious initiative, documented with the utmost respect between the four musicians, all brilliant improvisers in their own right, and willing to take the risks so important in making collective free improvised music a reality. Music director Verploegen chose the long-standing team of pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, and the legendary Dutch keyboardist Misha Mengelberg to collaborate with on one lengthy 34-minute conceptual piece, and a shorter ten-minute singular idea using lower level timbres and resonance to make some truly startling and original sounds. "A Butterfly, Bee, Mantis and Grasshopper" takes the creatures of nature convening in a musical interpretation of their wild nature and inherent curiosity. Assumedly the parts are played by Fujii (butterfly,) Tamura (bee,) Mengelberg (mantis), and Verploegen (grasshopper). The piece starts with multiple, short, strung together phrases from all four, with respect and deference the key. There's some inherent energy, a bit argumentative but only minimally. The sharing of ideas and solidarity, in fairly tonic and measured melodic snippets, with the trumpeters leading the discourse is heard. Tamura's Don Cherry-like snappy bursts and muted wails contrast the passive, yearning, at times soaring trumpet of Verploegen. The pianos take time to warm to the task as they initially adopt a fly-on-the-wall attitude, but eventually need their own way, demanding their opinions be heard in two-fisted streams of thought. There's a storm brewing as all four finally get to the heart of the pseudo-squabble, but it settles down as cooler heads prevail in a washed out watery coda. It's breathtaking music deserving a close listen, or perhaps three. The remaining piece "A Prescription" is very initially reminiscent of a mad Conlon Nancarrow player piano composition, with Fujii and Mengelberg slicing and dicing licks, prattling back and forth while trumpets softly blare, followed by haunting refrains, more shrill, squawky pronouncements, looking, or maybe loudly asking for attention. It's great to hear Fujii and Mengelberg together, and one could wish for a four hands, dueling project of their own. Meanwhile this quite satisfying recording of brass and piano has a lot to offer for the challenged listener looking for different instrumental possibilities.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos