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With Special Guest Natsuki Tamura






Satoko Fujii- piano

Joe Fonda- bass, flute

Natsuki Tamura- trumpet

  1. Paul Bley (37:10)

  2. JSN (11:20)


    Composer and pianist Satoko Fujii has been a creative force in jazz for many years. Specializing in avant garde and free style, she has performed as a solo artist and with different ensembles around the world. Joe Fonda is a composer and bassist who has also been active in the jazz world for many years, leading his own ensembles as well as recording with some of the top names in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. This disc presents their first collaboration, a live recording of their performance at Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland, Maine in November, 2015. This presentation was part of the Dimensions in Jazz Series, a program associated with the Portland Conservatory of Music and led by Portland jazz producer Paul Lichter. The tune Paul Bley is named for the late Canadian jazz pianist, one of Satoko’s early instructors. It is an intriguing, dynamic free jazz improvisation piece with sections that vary in tempo, spark and intensity, a musical dialogue beginning with a bass line that sets the stage asking questions, and a lively piano that responds, creating and repeating riffs and phrases over several octaves. The piece is 37 minutes long, wandering between moody listlessness and occasionally intense dissonance, to an improbable conversation of sound effects; Satoko scratching, scraping and plucking the piano strings, while Joe taps and bows the bass accompanied by shimmering piano glissandi. A short, quiet interlude features Joe playing the flute, before they resume their conversation between bass and piano. The performers are technically and artistically well-matched, and play off each other easily. The duo is joined by Satoko’s husband, Natsuki Tamura, for the second number, JSN, a name created by using the first initials of each performer. The tune is an odd, slightly tense composition with simultaneous piano and bass lines, played together while each heading in chromatically different directions, followed by several minutes of obscure trumpet and piano sound effects, and then ending abruptly, inspiring one to ponder the wonders of free jazz.

    This music was recorded live on 15 November, 2015 by Peter Nenortas, Satronen Sound at Woodfords Congregational Church in Portland, Maine. Peter also performed the mastering. There is no booklet, however liner notes and photos are included on the disc cover, with comments by Paul Lichter. The sound quality is excellent.

    Bruce McCollum

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