is a series of duets on trumpet and piano, each piece devoted to a type of cloud--"Cirrus," "Stratus," and so on. This may or may not be one of the senses that the artists meant to imply in their concept, but here's one way in which it seems an apt metaphor: outwardly calm and beautiful, the music unfolds to reveal a complex and often turbulent structure within. Take nothing for granted here, or risk being blown away when the wind shifts.
The variety of sounds that the two artists manage to conjure out of their instruments is truly startling. Playing a prepared piano to start of the proceedings, Satoko Fujii evokes first the sound of a child's toy before playing a melody on the strings that suggests the koto. Natsuki Tamura's trumpet at times sounds like anything but--here a didgeridoo, there a massive foghorn, other times the call of some unknown and perhaps menacing animal. They ably balance their explorations in to uncharted territory with sections played with more tonal familiarity, alternately lyrical and angular in the best jazz traditions.
Avant-garde jazz has a rich history of less-is-more duets--John Coltrane and Rashid Ali, Cecil Taylor and Max Roach, and Bill Laswell and Peter Brotzman to name but a few. Tamura and Fujii are a welcome addition to this lineage.