Sunday, June 15, 2014

A CD Experience- Shiki and DuDu

Lately I have been listening to a lot of contemporary jazz, music that is currently on the scene. And whenever I listen to new albums, or go to concerts, I am always amazed by how well music can describe the current moment- and how fearless this moment is. 

A CD Experience- Shiki and DuDu 

Recently I have heard fearlessness from pianist-composer Satoko Fujii and trumpeter-composer Natsuki Tamura, one of the most boundlessly creative husband-wife teams in new jazz. The exceptional avant pianist/composer Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura have two new CDs. Shiki is the ninth release with Fujii's New York Orchestra to appear over the last 18 years.  DuDu is the fifth release Tamura's Gato Libre, his working quartet since 2005.

Check out "DuDu".
"DuDuis the title track that opens Natsuki Tamura's new Gato Libre CD. I was very fortunate to be able to interview Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura, and ask them about these CDs and their influences. 

> 1. What was your inspiration behind your new release DuDu?
Natsuki: I wanted to make music which I usually play with Gato Libre
before. When I start making music for Gato Libre, my brain
automatically would be set for it. I think I have enough experience working with this band.

> 2. What was your inspiration behind your new release Shiki?
Satoko: I wanted to make music which is beyond something....I mean I
wanted to draw picture that is bigger than canvas. "Shiki" means four
seasons in Japanese. I think our life also has four seasons and I
wanted to express life's four seasons.

> 3. How much inspiration do you gain from the musicians within your band?
Satoko: I have gotten tremendous inspiration from the musicians in my
band. I have been playing with my New York orchestra for 18 years. When
I write music I hear their voices and that helps my compositions.

Natsuki: I have gotten very big inspiration from the musicians in my band.
I can easily imagine their sound and character. My imagination can help

my compositions.

> 4. How much of your music is composed versus improvised? When you compose
do you think in an improvisational way or vice versa?
Satoko: I always make music both written and unwritten, I mean composed
and improvised. I would like to blend them seamlessly. For me both
composition and improvisation are very similar. When I improvise I
think I compose instantly.

Natsuki: It depends on the song. Sometimes my music has 50%
improvisation and other times 95%.

> 5. Fujii's Shiki is the ninth release with her New York Orchestra to appear
over the last 18 years. In what ways did you want this new album to relate to
and differ from previous recordings?
Satoko: When I plan new recording, I would love to try something new.
The last CD of New York Orchestra is "Eto" which has many short pieces
that featuring each musicians. "Shiki" is made to feature all players
in one long piece.

> 6. Fuji has stated her ultimate goal: "I would love to make music that no
one has heard before." How exactly does one go about making music that no one
has heard before?
Satoko: My grand mother who passed away almost 20 years ago lost her
hearing for her last 10 years. She told me she started hearing very
beautiful music in her ears after she had lost her hearing. I asked her
to sing it, but she couldn't do it. I am very curious what she heard.
We probably hear too much things and that is why we cannot hear
something very beautiful. I would love to make music like the one my
grand mother heard. I don't know what that is though.

> 7. Shiki is dominated by the 40-minute title piece, a vast, eventful
composition on which Fujii reaches for "something beyond." How do you go
about reaching for "something beyond"? Is it a spiritual, artistic, or
musical journey? Is it based on a personal or a group mentality?
Satoko: Refer back to question #2. I wanted make music
"something beyond" musically, spiritually, artistically....etc.

> 8.  Who are some of your musical influences? Are you influenced by many
different genres?
Satoko: I think I have been influenced by all of the music that I have heard in
my life.

Natsuki: I often gain influence from fairy tales and paintings.

> 9. How does being a husband and wife team affect your musical
Check out "Shiki". 
Satoko: We are already musicians when we got to know each other so it is
very natural thing for us making music together. We make very different
music but our musical value is the same and that makes our collaboration

Natsuki: I agree with the Satoko's answer.

> 10. What kind of advice do you give to young musicians starting in the jazz
world, either performing or composing?
Satoko: First and last thing to tell them is to just continue to make
music. If they keep continuing, they will be able to make the music that they

Natsuki: Do not listen to adults too much. Follow your own voice in

your heart.

Final Thoughts: 
Sometimes when I listen to jazz I am astounded because it all sounds so different, yet it is all is all music. And sometimes in a world of commercials and constant repetition it is very nice to hear "music that no one has heard before". 

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