Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!


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

Title: Double Take | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Ewe Records


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Reaching Out CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018
Read The Songbook Project CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Project
by Don Phipps
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Solo a Genova CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane" CD/LP/Track Review Compassion: The Music Of John Coltrane
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "The Lead Belly Project" CD/LP/Track Review The Lead Belly Project
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Potsdamer Platz" CD/LP/Track Review Potsdamer Platz
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: February 3, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "Alfa" CD/LP/Track Review Alfa
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 10, 2017