7

Satoko Fujii: Gen Himmel

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Satoko Fujii: Gen Himmel A solo album tends almost inevitably to focus on instrumental chops rather than compositional skills. And that's the way it is on Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii's third unaccompanied outing, following Sketches (NatSat, 2004) and Indication (Libra, 1997), although she shows herself to be blessed with both. Compared to the exuberance and spirit of her group work with outfits as diverse as Ma-do and Kaze, she presents what a very intimate and introspective side of her personality. In the liners Fujii recounts that she has been inspired by the passing of several close friends, which might explain the bright but melancholy overall nature, low key and more understated than we have come to expect from her.

Slower rubato pieces dominate, though one of her most distinctive traits, the delving into the innards of the piano to explore unconventional timbres, is still very much in evidence straight from the off, as she rubs strings on the title track to create shimmering sheets of rumbling metallic hums, squeaks and plucks, before changing direction completely by pitching stately hymn like chords against an anarchic expressionistic build up. Interior manipulations play a role too in "Take Right" as Fujii starts with a gamelan-flavored Morse code. However thereafter, proceedings take on a more familiar energetic cast, as she juxtaposes a repeated melodic phrase against a trademark rolling ostinato.

At times she resembles her countrywoman and fellow pianist Eri Yamamoto in her insistent rhythmic savvy allied to a deep soulfulness. In a program of 12 short cuts, other high points include the warm, sparkling "In the Dusk," "Dawn Broun" where staccato ascending arpeggios and glissandi threaten to stretch into all out freedom, but keep reassuringly returning to the initial ascending motif, the joyous rippling "Summer Solstice" with prepared keys accenting the percussive patterns, and the closing "Der Traum" in which Fujii's singing line pierces an elegiac stasis begetting more drama prior to the final theme statement which ends suddenly leaving a question mark in mid-air. Whatever the query, the answer has to be "more please."


Track Listing: Gen Himmel; In the Dusk; Hesitation; Take Right; Ram; A.S.; Dawn Broun; Summer Solistice; I Know You Don't Know; Ittari Kitari; Saka; Der Traum.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii: piano.

Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Libra Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Related Video

Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Jinja" CD/LP/Track Review Jinja
by James Nadal
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Prog Noir" CD/LP/Track Review Prog Noir
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2016
Read "The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald" CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Equal Poise" CD/LP/Track Review Equal Poise
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 17, 2016
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Matador 4" CD/LP/Track Review Matador 4
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 31, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!