Satoko Fujii


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Her orchestral work notwithstanding, pianist Satoko Fujii has sometimes been accused of being too voluble and not leaving enough space to her partners. This is definitely not the case with this new trio featuring drummer John Hollenbeck and husband/trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, who arguably comes out as the real star of the session as he constantly displays an impressive range of licks, tricks, and techniques. If the trio tends to be sparse, and at times verges on minimalism, it can also build up a storm. And Fujii's trademark impetuous runs or clusters, less frequent, gain in effectiveness. As for Hollenbeck, he is not looking for the spotlight, probably because he is as much a drummer as a composer and fully understands the requirements of collaborative music making. He too uses a wide variety of percussion instruments and proves to be a more than adequate match for Tamura. Finally, the three musicians do not take themselves too seriously and pepper their conversations with goofy quotes and a great sense of humor that is reflected in the choice of titles. Fragment is one of Fujii's most diverse and intriguing recordings, and shows that this prolific artist still has a lot to say.

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