Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura, Future Inns Jazz Club, April 15th
A very absorbing evening’s improv from this Japanese duo. Improv? Well, there was quite a lot of forethought, especially in the long, impressionistic second set – pianist Fujii digging into her classical roots with rich, ringing chords, trumpeter Tamura producing now bubbly, now lyrical responses. Improv, I guess, because they didn’t really do jazz time at all, and people like categories, but this was really just impressively resourceful, eclectic music.
They didn’t indicate who wrote what, but have a fondness for long, rapid unison lines, bracketing solo and duo excursions and then coming back to some neatly unexpected endings. Plenty of variety, and plenty of surprise, which made the whole set very satisfying.
The first half was less programmed, but equally accomplished, ranging over a little prepared piano, come Cecil Taylorish stuff, and trumpet contributions which interspersed Cherry-like flurries with low, fartsome noises. Not quite as beguiling to the ear as the contrasting second set, but all good fun. They are both brilliant technicians and intense, concentrated performers, and put on a fine show in spite of having to endure a train ride from Edinburgh to make it to Bristol when their flight was volcanoed off. Here’s hoping they found their way to Paris the next day, which I think was the plan. It must have been an odd time to be caught 12,000 miles from home, but if you want to make music then the Cabot Circus club is a nice spot to end up in for the evening, and pulled in a decent crowd for this first date for something a little out of the normal run of jazz gigs. More are promised for the Autumn and if they are as good as this, they’ll be worth waiting for.
PS There’s a lengthier account of their London gig a few nights earlier here on LondonJazz.