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...

12

Satoko Fujii: Invisible Hand

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
In Satoko Fujii's extensive discography—about eighty releases, including recordings by several big bands and a variety a small combo groups—solo piano outings are scarce. There was Sketches (NatSat Records, 2004); and Gen Himmel (Libra Records, 2013), and not much else. Until now, with a Invisible Hand, a double CD set, recorded live at the jazz club Cortez, in Mito, Japan.

Set 1 (disc 1), features Fujii's explorations in free improvisation. In contrast to her ensemble music—often explosive and brazen, occasionally wild and wall-shaking, bursting with sudden shifts in mood and dynamics—the pianist in the solo setting is more often contemplative, drifting through tranquil segments of melodic reverie, punctuated by piquant bits of dampened string noise, judicious silences and the occasional orchestral-like harmonies elicited, somehow, by inside-the-piano ministrations. And it's always distinctly original.

"Thought," the opening tune of Disc 1, is a deep immersion into classical music-like introspection, a patient unfolding of spare and beautiful ideas. "Increase" delves into a jagged, agitated atmosphere, with clipped phrasings and Fujii-esque burst of notes and sharp angles. "Floating" drifts into the realm of marimba-toned wind chimes sounds.

Dis 2 Includes two of Fujii's previous compositions: "Spring Storm," the title track from her album by her New Trio. It starts out with a solemn feeling, all calmness and tranquility, scattered rain drops bursting prettily on the ground, over time gaining intensity of a steadily insistent precipitation and evolving into a squall; and "Gen Himmel," the title track of her previous solo outing, a somber tune with a holy glow. Fujii, like her early-career mentor, a Paul Bley, produces a steady stream of ideas, eschewing repetition and cliche in the crafting of her solo work, her loveliest and most accessible music.

Fujii's first appearance at Cortez featured her band Kaze, one of her stranger, more "out there" groups. The response was so positive that Cortez' owner, Teruhiko Ito, invited Fujii back to play a solo show, for an experience that couldn't be more different than the sound of Kaze. But her performance so impressed him, he decided to form his own record label, Cortez Sound: the label's first offering: the recording of the show, Satoko Fujii's marvelous Invisible Hand.

Track Listing: Disc 1: Thought; Increase; Invisible Hand; Floating; Hayase; Disc 2: I Know You Don't Know; Spring Storm; Inori; Green Cab; Gen Himmel.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii: piano.

Title: Invisible Hand | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Cortez Sound

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

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

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
Stone

Stone

Libra Records
2019

buy
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

Related Articles

Read Higher Album Reviews
Higher
By Tyran Grillo
May 26, 2019
Read The Unlonely Raindancer Album Reviews
The Unlonely Raindancer
By Matt Parker
May 26, 2019
Read Pyramid Scheme Album Reviews
Pyramid Scheme
By Mark Sullivan
May 26, 2019
Read Mosaismic Album Reviews
Mosaismic
By Mike Jurkovic
May 26, 2019
Read Caldera / Sky Islands Album Reviews
Caldera / Sky Islands
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 25, 2019
Read Baby, Please Come Home Album Reviews
Baby, Please Come Home
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Reckless Heart Album Reviews
Reckless Heart
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019