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Fujii / Tamura / Sharp / Kato
In the Tank

Fujii / Tamura / Sharp / Kato: In the Tank (Libra)
Label: Libra    
Released in: Japan    

"Analyzed like the arrangement of officials in the podium at a Beijing May Day parade, the way the personnel is displayed on In the Tank probably means that it's more Natsuki Tamura's session than one headed by Satoko Fujii. Usually in the past, his CDs have included broad, near-atonal intervals and harsh, electronic instruments, while hers, although sometimes featuring rock-styled musicians usually encompass classic jazz forms like the piano trio and the big band.

That doesn't mean that pianist Fujii contributes any less to this aggressive free improv than Tamura, her trumpet-playing husband. Yet when you mix in the contributions of guitarist Takayuki Kato member of the Free Jazz Shibusashirazu Orchestra, who participated in a later Fujii quartet session where she first recorded on synthesizer, and New York guitarist and soprano saxophonist Elliott Sharp, whose eccentric outpourings have ranged from noise-rock to futuristic classical themes, her playing is the most distanced from electronics.

Really one 68-minute improv, the CD is divided into four tracks that should be listened to as a whole. Mixing the trumpeter's bravura expressiveness and the techniques of the two guitarists who can replicate bass and percussion timbres, this is no laid-back jam session. It does have a particular shape however, with introductory passages and an elongated coda, both linked with the individualist playing of Tamura. Instructively, with all the dissonant, near-ghostly tones exhibited, In the Tank also implies traditional Japanese textures of koto-like plinks and finger-cymbal or rei pings at several junctures.

Still, as the exposition develops, distorted sine-wave pulsations and steady slide-guitar abrasions quickly subsume these delicate textures. Added to this is slashed flutter-tonguing and heaving echoes from Tamura's horn, plus a low-pitched repetitive counter line from the pianist.

Developing this first-time meeting of equals, Sharp's serpentine sax vibrations and the trumpeter's tremolo wah wahs and bright, silvery pulse accelerate contrapuntally as percussion clusters - from Fujii or Kato? - rattle in the background, until a climax of layered guitar harmonics loudly crescendo in what sounds like multiple ring modulator tones. Soon a spray of curved licks and watery bird-like snaps are heard from the guitars implying an underwater fowl pool game has been captured in the studio. The pianist counters with measured single notes and Tamura spews heightened grace notes and flourishes, accelerating so that the sound melds with rolling, high frequency chords from Fujii. Thick fuzz-tone reverb are then heard from one guitarist and sharp resonating bottleneck licks from the other, with rasgueado strums ushering in the next variations. [...]

Created in Tokyo in 2001, this impressive, ever-shifting performance suggests a repeat should soon be in order."-Ken Waxman

"Elliott Sharp is an American multi-instrumentalist, composer, and performer.

A central figure in the avant-garde and experimental music scene in New York City for over 30 years, Elliott Sharp has released over eighty-five recordings ranging from orchestral music to blues, jazz, noise, no wave rock, and techno music. He leads the projects Carbon and Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane and has pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction.

His collaborators have included Radio-Sinfonie Frankfurt; pop singer Debbie Harry; Ensemble Modern; Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; Kronos String Quartet; Ensemble Resonanz; cello innovator Frances Marie Uitti; blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Pops Staples; pipa virtuoso Min-Xiao Feng; jazz greats Jack deJohnette, Oliver Lake, and Sonny Sharrock; multimedia artists Christian Marclay and Pierre Huyghe; and Bachir Attar, leader of the Master Musicians Of Jajouka.

Sharp is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2014 Fellow at Parson's Center for Transformative Media. He received the 2015 Berlin Prize in Musical Composition from the American Academy in Berlin. He has composed scores for feature films and documentaries; created sound-design for interstitials on The Sundance Channel, MTV and Bravo networks; and has presented numerous sound installations in art galleries and museums. He is the subject of a new documentary "Doing The Don't" by filmmaker Bert Shapiro."-Elliott Sharp

-Elliott Sharp website (

"Born on October 9, 1958 in Tokyo, Japan, Fujii began playing piano at four and received classical training until twenty, when she turned to jazz. From 1985-87, she studied at Boston's Berklee College of Music, where her teachers included Herb Pomeroy and Bill Pierce. She returned to Japan for six years before returning to the US to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where her teachers included George Russell, Cecil McBee, and Paul Bley, who appeared on her debut CD Something About Water (Libra, 1996).

Since then Fujii has been an innovative bandleader and soloist, a tireless seeker of new sounds, and a prolific recording artist in ensembles ranging from duos to big bands. She has showcased her astonishing range and ability approximately 80 CDs as leader or co-leader. With each new recording or new band, she explores new aspects of her art.

Regular collaborations include her New York trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black, augmented by trumpeter/husband Natsuki Tamura to form the Satoki Fujii Four; her duo with Tamura; the Satoko Fujii Quartet featuring Tatsuya Yoshida of the Japanese avant-rock duo, The Ruins; Orchestra New York, which boasts the cream of New York's contemporary avant garde improvisers, including saxophonists Ellery Eskelin and Tony Malaby, trumpeters Herb Roberton and Steven Bernstein, and trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, among others; Orchestra Tokyo, drawing on that city's best improvisers; Orchestra Nagoya; Orchestra Kobe; the co-operative trio Junk Box with Tamura and percussionist John Hollenbeck; ma-do, a quartet including Tamura on trumpet, bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu, and Akira Horikoshi; the Min-Yoh Ensemble with Tamura, trombonist Hasselbring, and accordionist Andrea Parkins; the Satoko Fujii New Trio, featuring bassist Todd Nicholson and drummer Takashi Itani― plus countless engagements and collaborations with some of the world's most important improvisers."

-Satoko Fujii Website (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Japanese & Asian Improv/Rock
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Quartet Recordings
Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura's Libra Label

Get additional information at Jazzword

Search for other titles on the Libra label.

Other Recommended Releases:
Sharp, Elliott Aggregat
(Clean Feed)
Tamura, Natsuki
Dragon Nat
Fujii, Satoko / Tamura, Natsuki
In Krakow In November
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Price: $15.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 5.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

UPC: 4562169330115

Label: Libra
Catalog ID: 104-011
Squidco Product Code: 9314

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2005
Country: Japan
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded live at Sakura-mate, Kumagaya, Japan on March 20, 2001


Natsuki Tamura-trumpet

Elliott Sharp-soprano sax, guitar

Takayuki Kato-guitar

Satoko Fujii-piano

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Track Listing:

1. Walking Squid 10:40

2. Flying Jellyfish 21:14

3. Sinking Shrimp 14:51

4. Crowing Crab 22:03