Step Tempest Blog – DUET

Step Tempest Blog parla di Duet

If ever an album needed a video of the performance, “Duet” by pianist Satoko Fuji and bassist Joe Fonda (Long Song Records) is one. Not that the music the duo performs is not strong on its own but it would be enhanced by watching the musicians playing and interacting. Personally, I have seen Mr. Fonda play numerous times and there are few people I have seen who are as “one with their instrument” as he. If you listen closely to this recording, you can hear him breathe and occasionally sing.

This is a recording of the first time Ms. Fujii and the bassist ever met and played together. They certainly knew each other’s works and sense of adventure so it comes as little surprise that this performance goes in so many directions and never loses it’s focus. The first cut, “Paul Bley”, is 37:32 seconds of powerful music, with both musicians really digging in, pushing each other to go deeper, to take musical chances – the closing moments are simply beautiful. The second track, “JSN”, adds the pianist’s husband Natsuki Tamura on amplified trumpet to the duo. Also totally improvised, it’s a meditative piece, moving out of its rubato interaction of trumpet and bass into a poetic piano melody supported by the full bass tones. The trumpeter plays quiet bells in the background and slowly the intensity rises with the insistent piano pushing the others to raise the volume. Later on, Ms. Fujii plays inside the piano as her husband creates a sonic storm and Mr. Fonda moves to flute. The piece fades out at just over 11 minutes.

Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda meet for the first time yet their mature and and adventuresome musical interactions sound as if they have been together on the bandstand for decades. Because both musicians have long careers creating challenging and rewarding performances, they trust each other to be “free” and honest. For more information, go to

Richard B. Kamins

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