DUETS IN TWO FORMS…Satoko Fujii & Joe Fonda: Duet, Mili Bermejo & Dan Greenspan: Arte del Duo

The most intimate form of communication in jazz is arguably the duet. There’s simply nowhere to hide. Here are two wildly divergent ways of it taking two to tango.

Joe Fonda plays bass and flute, and Satoko Fujii plays the  piano for a 37+ minute duet titled “Paul Bley” that has the two go deep, dark and serious. Fonda picks and bends the strings, sometimes going alone, and other times sliding around Fujii’s shadows. Fujii is expansive and explorative, sometimes using the piano strings for extra texture. Natsuki Tamura adds a muted trumpet for the 11 minute “JSN” which is equally impressionistic, free and intuitive. Must be fascinating to watch, but with only one dimension, something gets lost in the conversation, making the excursion  more to be admired than enjoyed.

A whole different mood is created with the duo of vocalist Mili Bermejo and bassist Dan Greenstreet. Here, the husky toned lady performs passionate originals and covers in both English and Spanish, with Greenstreet providing rhythmic, melodic and harmonic support throughout. She’s a folklore sensation on her own “Los Que Se Aman” and “Cosecha” and takes you to the local plaza on”Tres Veces Heroica.” A read of Vardan Ovsepian’s “End of the Beginning” is passionate, dramatic and with fragrances of the Old World, while her version of “Windmills of Your Mind” rolls like gently rumbling falling rocks off  a cliff. This one’s a beaut!



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