Satoko Fujii Min-Yoh Ensemble

Fujin Raijin

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Fujin Raijin Review

by Scott Yanow

Pianist Satoko Fujii calls this quartet her Min-Yoh Ensemble. Min-Yoh means folk music in Japanese, so Fujii has her group improvising on both traditional Japanese folk melodies (the opening and closing numbers) and originals that have strong themes. But although some of the solos (particularly by trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and trombonist Curtis Hasselbring) are lyrical and relatively melodic, there are also explosive moments along with passionate sound explorations. Andrea Parkins' long tones on the accordion are eerie, while the uncredited traditional vocal on "Kaiboshi Kiriuta" (by Fujii?), which joins the mournful trumpet, is a surprise. Satoko Fujii explores a wide range of emotions on these six intriguing pieces, and the horns add a great deal to the music's color.

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