Exposé Online banner

Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda — Mizu
(Long Song LSRCD 145, 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2018-09-28

Mizu Cover art

Sometimes with Satoko Fujii, less is definitely more. Back in 2016, Fujii and bassist Fonda’s first recording together, simply titled Duet, was an exceptional collection of masterful jazz improvisations. On their latest outing, Mizu, recorded on their 2017 European tour just days after the trio recording with the Italian saxophonist Gianni Mimmo (released earlier this year as Triad), the duo is again spinning the same kind of magic, with outbursts of pure wild emotion, soft gentle passages that belie the former, slow building crescendos, and beautiful artful melodies, all created on the fly. Around 15 minutes into the opener “Rik Bevernage,” Fonda begins pulling a variety of unusual sounds out of his bass via bowing, while Fujii gracefully opens up some brilliant piano textures dancing around some minimalist ideas coupled with melodic flashes of monumental power. Fonda is not averse to adding some vocal blasts on top of his bass work, adding even more emotion to the proceedings. 24 minutes in it fades into a relaxed improv with both players taking turns in the spot and working together until it all builds up again into an emotional inferno that all comes crashing down at the piece’s twenty-eight minute conclusion. “Long Journey” is in fact the shortest, at slightly over seven minutes, with an overall gentle approach, slowly building into a bubbling cauldron of bass and piano exchanges that at once evokes wonder and chaos. The title track, at just over 21 minutes, closes the set, its opening passages of prepared piano offer a haunting gamelan effect, like bells, gongs and wind chimes on a lonely road in East Java. Around three minutes in Fonda answers with some high pitched squeaks, and soon after the gentleness of the opening scene gives way to some percussive effects, a spirited exchange between the players ensues, and beventually comes back from the more experimental sounds to a more traditional jazz workout between piano, bass, voice, with all the emotional ebbs and flows one might expect, eventually closing with a gentle interchange between piano and flute. The three improvs account for nearly an hour-long journey that will have you reaching for the repeat button at the set's conclusion.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii, Joe Fonda

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Attrition - All Mine Enemys Whispers: The Story of Mary Ann Cotton – There is a persistent case to be made for metaphoric musics deriving from literary sources, even as such practice now belongs more and more to the tattered remnants of the Romantic era. Dark...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues