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Zephryos by Satoko Fujii Quartet

Satoko Fujii is a tremendous talent on the piano. The last CD I heard from her was Clouds, a series of free duets recoded with Natsuki Tamura on trumpet. Both are featured on Zephyros, the latest CD from the Satoko Fujii Quartet, but the sound and context seem totally different. Where Clouds was subtle and open, Zephyros is bombastic and tightly composed. The disc is consistently interesting, but not always fun to listen to.

Fujii's compositions are admirably detailed, but not always engaging. In this I think she is foiled by an uninspiring rhythm section. Bassist Takeharu Hayakawa gets some things right--his contrapuntal pentatonic bass line on "As Usual" rubs up against the melody line effectively--but his solos are too messy and ultimately uninteresting, sinking too many tunes. Worst of all, his unabashedly electric tone never quite meshes with the perfectly clean sound of Fujii's grand piano.

Ultimately, Zephyros is too stiff for enjoyable listening. Haryakawa and drummer Tatsuya Yoshida try too hard and Fujii & Tamura let them. This is the kind of record that reeks of wasted talent. Better luck next time.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Satoko Fujii Quartet
  • CD Title: Zephryos
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Polystar
  • Rating: Three Stars
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