Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

201

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: ETO

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
In addition to an ever-changing array of small combos, tireless Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii continues to lead four international big bands, each based in a different city (Kobe, Nagoya, New York and Tokyo). Of the four, her New York based Orchestra is both her oldest and most prolific, having maintained virtually the same line-up since 1997. ETO, dedicated to her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura on the eve of his sixtieth birthday, is the Orchestra's eighth recording.

A milestone event by the standards of many cultures, turning sixty in Japan is honored with a symbolic rebirth celebration called "Kanreki." Inspired by traditional Japanese use of the Chinese zodiac, the album's titular suite comprises 14 sections; an opening and closing theme bookends 12 focused miniatures named after the animals of the Chinese zodiac, with each interlude spotlighting a different member of the band as primary soloist. The brief vignettes that encapsulate the episodic suite's various sections embrace a dizzying stylistic range, exploiting Fujii's skills as a composer as often as her sidemen's interpretive prowess—frequently in unaccompanied settings. Veering between extremes, Dave Ballou's lyrical trumpet ruminations on the Duke Ellingtonian "Hare" offer stark contrast to Curtis Hasselbring's vociferous muted trombone musings on the brooding "Dragon," while Ellery Eskelin's elliptical tenor cadences pirouette through "Tiger" with nimble restraint compared to Briggan Krauss' bristling alto tirade on the climactic "Boar." Tamura, the dedicatee of the extended work, contributes a commanding performance on "Snake," unfurling coruscating glissandi that blur the line between expressive vocalisms and pure abstraction.

The remainder of the record is girded by three intricate pieces employing dynamic shifts in orchestration—providing thematic consistency with the dramatic interplay between ensemble charts and spare soliloquies that dominates "Eto Suite." The regal opener "The North Wind And The Sun" introduces the date with a string of meditative solos punctuated by swelling tuttis, foreshadowing the vast aural spectrum explored in the album's lengthy suite. "Pressure Cooker" and "Stroll" conclude the session in a similar fashion. The muscular riffing and locomotive rhythms of the former is bolstered by animated brass excursions from trombonist Joe Fiedler and trumpeter Frank London; the latter trades visceral intensity for austere introspection, closing the set with a sophisticated fusion of stately themes and aleatoric impressionism.

Revealing new facets on repeated listens ETO balances rousing swing with probing experimentation, updating the big band tradition with inspired verve and an abiding reverence for venerable customs.

Track Listing: The North Wind And The Sun; Eto Suite: Overture; Rat; Ox; Tiger; Hare; Dragon; Snake; Horse; Ram; Monkey; Rooster; Dog; Boar; Epilogue; Pressure Cooker; Stroll.

Personnel: Oscar Noriega: alto saxophone; Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone; Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone; Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Andy Laster: baritone saxophone; Herb Robertson: trumpet; Dave Ballou: trumpet; Frank London: trumpet; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Joey Sellers: trombone; Curtis Hasselbring: trombone; Joe Fiedler: trombone; Satoko Fujii: piano; Stomu Takeishi: bass; Aaron Alexander: drums.

Title: ETO | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Libra Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Long Journey

Long Journey

Satoko Fujii
Mizu

Available Gravity

Available Gravity

Satoko Fujii
Triad

Hypnotique Sympathie

Hypnotique Sympathie

Satoko Fujii
Atody Man

Liberation

Liberation

Satoko Fujii
Aspiration

Kunpuu

Kunpuu

Satoko Fujii
Kisaragi

Thought

Thought

Satoko Fujii
Invisible Hand

Ichigo Ichie 2

Ichigo Ichie 2

Satoko Fujii
Ichigo Ichie

Potential Energy

Potential Energy

Satoko Fujii
Yamiyo Ni Karasu

Running Around

Running Around

Satoko Fujii
Uminari

Gen Himmel

Gen Himmel

Satoko Fujii
Shiki

Multiple Reviews
Interviews
Under the Radar
Year in Review
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Atody Man

Atody Man

Libra Records
2018

buy
Bright Force

Bright Force

Libra Records
2018

buy
Ninety-Nine Years

Ninety-Nine Years

Libra Records
2018

buy
Mizu

Mizu

Long Song Records
2018

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Cuando Sea Necesario Album Reviews
Cuando Sea Necesario
By Dan McClenaghan
March 22, 2019
Read West 60th Album Reviews
West 60th
By Peter Hoetjes
March 22, 2019
Read In Between the Tumbling a Stillness Album Reviews
In Between the Tumbling a Stillness
By Mark Corroto
March 22, 2019
Read Arirang Fantasy Album Reviews
Arirang Fantasy
By John Sharpe
March 22, 2019
Read The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul Album Reviews
The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul
By Mike Jurkovic
March 22, 2019
Read Octopus Album Reviews
Octopus
By Jack Bowers
March 21, 2019
Read Pinch Point Album Reviews
Pinch Point
By Mark Corroto
March 21, 2019