Jazz Bar, Edinburgh, Tue June 17th 2008
This collaboration between the Japanese husband and wife team of pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura with a quartet culled from Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra may be a bijou precursor to a full GIO blow-out with the pair later in the week at the CCA. But, in what proves to be a remarkable display of quiet virtuosity and low-key inventiveness, and aided and abetted by the twin guitars of George Burt and Neil Davidson, drummer Tom Bancroft and GIO sax stalwart Raymond MacDonald, it’s equally as special.
There’s a richness to Fujii’s keyboard colouring that leaves plenty of space before easing its way into other directions, from pounding escapades to more conventional grooves here led by Bancroft. Tamura adds audaciousness and playful bounce, one minute growling into his reed, the next giving it frontline horn section blare with MacDonald. A second set duet between the couple sees the band join in for more laid-back fare. MacDonald’s soprano sax is particularly lush in a night of quietly intense exploration with little bursts of fire.
The List, June 2008