Satoko Fujii: Invisible Hand

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Satoko Fujii: Invisible Hand
Satoko Fujii's work has been well documented across her many musical outlets. A restless creative force, the pianist—and occasional accordionist—she has plied her trade in the intimate duo settings with trumpeter-husband Natsuki Tamura and recently with bassist Joe Fonda on Duet (Long Song Records, 2016). But more often than not, Fujii's presence has been in the context of her numerous orchestras from New York, Berlin and Tokyo. Of her dozens of recordings, few have shown a spotlight on her solo piano work, the last of those recordings being Gen Himmel (Libra Records, 2013).

Invisible Hand is a live, two-CD set recorded at the Cortez Jazz Club in Mito, Japan. A mix of older Fujii compositions and new improvisations, the pieces are fleshed out mostly in long, extended treatments leaving room for the pianist's unique form of lyricism and edgy avant-garde inventions. The austere "Thought" opens the first disc with a predominantly delicate right-hand approach that runs counter to the busy and more erratic "Increase" that follows. The thirteen-plus minute title track has Fujii working both inside and outside the piano, the extended technique both lyrical and eerie. The long "Floating" is more straight-forward and incorporates classical influences. "Hayese" goes further into free and open territory as the improvisation displays layers of impulsive construction.

The second disc begins pensively with "I Know You Don't Know," an atmosphere that follows through the first half of "Spring Storm" which develops into just that, as it rumbles and explodes in a torrent of notes. Fujii again coaxes unnatural sounds from the piano on the otherwise gentle balladry of "Inori" and slides about the inner works again on "Green Cab," a boogie-heavy romp. "Gen Himmel" (from the afore mentioned solo album) is infused with a beautiful gospel flavor to close out the album.

Invisible Hand is a project that Fujii feels led her to a deeper personal space, buoyed by her audience and the sense of being in the right time and place for such an undertaking. The entire first disc is improvised though there are times that her sense of arrangement makes the music feel more constructed than it is. This album is, perhaps as packed with emotion as any of Fujii's works outside Gato Libre and combined with her technical skills, it is an extremely rewarding experience.

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.


Satoko Fujii: piano.

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album



Shop Amazon


Read Earth
Dave Liebman
Read Urban(e)
Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra
Read Hiding Place
Hiding Place
Mark Murphy, Folk Artist
Read The Truce
The Truce
Markus Reuter
Read Data Lords
Data Lords
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Read In Igma
In Igma
Pedro Melo Alves
Read Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Ingrid Laubrock + Kris Davis

All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.