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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Carla Kihlstedt & Satoko Fujii website  Carla Kihlstedt & Satoko Fujii - Minamo [Henceforth Records - 2008]

Minamo, not to be confused with the Japanese band called Minamo, is a joint venture of Carla Kihlstedt (known from working in projects and bands like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Cosa Brava, Tin Hat (Trio), Charming Hostess and 2 Foot Yard) and jazzpianist and composer Satoko Fujii, who worked with many musicians, like Misha Mengelberg, Jim Black, Tatsuya Yoshida and Paul Bley and regularly with Natsuki Tamura with whom she runs a label called Libra.

On Minamo we find a set of improvisations of the two did in 2002, unprepared under less than ideal circumstances even, but they manage to convey the feeling they've already had an extensive tour behind them. The material sounds like contemporary composed music, with the difference that it's made up on the spot. The first three pieces are documenting the first encounter the two had, at the invitation of Rova Saxophone Quartet leader Larry Ochs to open on Rova's 25th anniversary season. The fact that Carla and Satoko never played together before makes it only more amazing. I suppose Satoko comes from a jazz and improvisation background and may be experienced more than Carla in this field, but together they just move as one. The fourth piece, 26 minutes in length, was recorded at their second encounter, in Europe. The two lock into eachother again and just go. With the same delicate but dedicated telepathy.

Somewhat comparable to another piano/violin duo perhaps, that of Mark Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier, but logically also different as the personalities differ. But the unjazzy yet improvised idiom (including Fujii's extended techniques) and virtuosity are alike and if you love Feldman/Courvoisier you're probably going to enjoy this one. Fans of Kihlstedt's other bands may have to test the waters first, as the music presented here is much more abstract, although not exclusively, than what we're used to.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

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