Satoko Fujii Orchestra: Double Take

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii has grabbed plenty of attention in the cutting edge jazz community. After briefly studying classical music, she came to America and breezed through the Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. Her mentors have included Paul Bley and George Russell, and along with her Japanese heritage and classical background produced a talented pianist. That fact is evidenced on her solo outing Indication (Libra Records 1996), whereas her fondness for Downtown jazz and the new avant-garde comes through on Looking Out Of The Window, a 1997 Japanese release for Nippon Crown. Recorded with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black, Fujii showcases a style that has digested both Keith Jarrett and Cecil Taylor.

Her ambitious orchestra project, a two CD affair, recorded mostly the same compositions by two different orchestras, one from the US, the other with all Japanese musicians. Two shots at any large ensemble get together are rare these days, but two almost differing cultural perspectives are an admirable undertaking. Like Godzilla vs. the Terminator, or Hideo Nomo pitching to Mark McGwire, it’s East matching West.

She gives us American jazz. To be more precise, Downtown jazz. Fujii is a sort of 21st century Frank Zappa. She likes to muck it up. Start. Stop and turn phrases on their head. These two CDs are almost beyond description because of the amount of information packed into two- plus hours of music.

The West disc has a now familiar cast of New York insiders; Chris Speed (Bloodcount), Briggan Krause, Curtis Hasselbring (Either/Orchestra), Steve Bernstein (Sex Mob), Cuong Vu, Tony Malaby (Vinny Golia) along with DJ Firehouse adding the turntable to the orchestra mix. My ignorance of Japanese jazz musicians is hopefully forgivable. I look at Double Take as a fresh perspective on Fujii’s material. The only conclusion I can draw between East and West versions is the Japanese stick closer to the tradition of jazz or at least the tradition of avant-jazz orchestras. There is much to digest, all first class music, musicians and improvising. Repeated listens are not only necessary, but also required.

Track List East Disc:South Wind; The Desert; The South Pole; The Outer Space; The Megalopolis; Okesa-Yansado; Sola-Sky.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii

| Record Label: Ewe Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Oddara" CD/LP/Track Review Oddara
by James Nadal
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Canto América" CD/LP/Track Review Canto América
by James Nadal
Published: March 7, 2016
Read "King Of Xhosa" CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Jazzin' Around Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Jazzin' Around Christmas
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Trajectoire" CD/LP/Track Review Trajectoire
by Barry O'Sullivan
Published: March 16, 2016
Read "Good 'n' Cheap: The Eggs Over Easy Story" CD/LP/Track Review Good 'n' Cheap: The Eggs Over Easy Story
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!