In Krakow in November

Satoko Fujii

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In Krakow in November Review

by Fran├žois Couture

Since Natsuki Tamura has been integrated to the Satoko Fujii Trio (now Satoko Fujii Four), the husband-and-wife team is playing together virtually all the time, and yet, very rarely as a duo. Their previous duo recording, the free improv session Clouds, goes back to 2002. In Krakow in November was recorded...well, in Krakow (Poland), in November 2005. It was a studio session for Radio Krakow. For the occasion, the duo elected to revisit a cross-section of their European folk-influenced pieces, mostly borrowing from the repertoire of the Satoko Fujii Four, Natsuki Tamura Quartet, and Tamura's Gato Libre. In general, the session has the quietness and prettiness of the latter project's albums, even in usually raucous numbers such as "Explorer" (previously known as an all-out electrified romp) and "Ninepin" (a staple of the Fujii Trio's live set). Each song has carefully been re-thought as a piano/trumpet duo -- even the pieces from Gato Libre's two CDs undergo a substantial transformation. In Krakow in November offers a lulling evening listen, somewhere between Satie ("Strange Village," "Morning Mist") and Lennie Tristano ("Inori," 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. Fans of Fujii's more avant-gardist projects may find it too lightweight, although nothing actually prevents you from enjoying both sides of her art, as this reviewer will enthusiastically testify!

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