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Satoko Fujii

Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer SATOKO FUJII as one of the most original voices in jazz today. A truly global artist, she splits her time between Berlin and Japan and tours internationally leading several ensembles. Just as her career spans international borders, her music spans many genres, blending jazz, contemporary classical music, rock, and traditional Japanese music into an innovative synthesis instantly recognizable as hers alone. Her wide-ranging compositions can incorporate the simple melodies of folk song, the harmonic sophistication of jazz, the rhythmic power of rock, and the extended forms of symphonic composers. Although Fujii’s compositions are full of sudden shifts in direction and mood, the extremes are always part of a greater conceptual whole. The 2015 el Intrus International Critics Poll recognized her as one of the composers of the year. As an improviser, Fujii is equally wide-ranging and virtuosic. In her solos, explosive free jazz energy mingles with delicate melodicism and a broad palette of timbre and textures. Born on October 9, 1958 in Tokyo, Japan, Fujii began playing piano at four and received classical training until twenty, when she turned to jazz. From 1985–87, she studied at Boston's Berklee College of Music, where her teachers included Herb Pomeroy and Bill Pierce. She returned to Japan for six years before returning to the US to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where her teachers included George Russell, Cecil McBee, and Paul Bley, who appeared on her debut CD Something About Water (Libra, 1996). Since then Fujii has been an innovative bandleader and soloist, a tireless seeker of new sounds, and a prolific recording artist in ensembles ranging from duos to big bands. She has showcased her astonishing range and ability approximately 80 CDs as leader or co-leader. With each new recording or new band, she explores new aspects of her art.

Between 1997 and 2008, her New York trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black released seven critically acclaimed CDs. Cadence magazine described the group as “Beautiful and exciting by turns, and sometimes both at once.” Jason Bivins in Signal to Noise, praised the “dynamite unit” for its “improv delirium, hot grooves, and melodic dances." In 2004 trumpeter/husband Natsuki Tamura joined this trio to form the Satoki Fujii Four, which released the critically acclaimed Live in Japan 2004 and 2006's When We Were There.

At the same time, she and Tamura began documenting their intimate duo music. By now, the pair has made five CDs for various labels in Europe and Japan. In his four-star Down Beat review of Chun (2008), Ted Panken wrote,“Fujii's orchestral technique, clear chromatic lines and “prepared piano” devices contrast effectively with Tamura's arsenal of extended techniques which he executes with a warm, vocalized tone throughout the trumpet's full range.”

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"Unpredictable, wildly creative, and uncompromising…Fujii is an absolutely essential listen for anyone interested in the future of jazz." —Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

“Fujii is clearly one of the most exciting musicians to come along in a while.” —Robert Iannapollo, Cadence

“100 Years…100 Alumni” —Profiling New England Conservatory’s Most Successful Alumni

Satoko Fujii Orchestra: Talent Deserving Wider Recognition —DownBeat Critics Poll

Rising Star: Arranger —DownBeat Critics Poll

“Satoko Fujii is one of the more arresting new voices in jazz, an intriguing pianist and composer who in the few brief years of her career has been creating personal intersections between the music of her native Japan and the traditions of free jazz. In the process, she's developing genuinely exciting and original music.” —Stuart Broomer, Coda

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Perpetual Motion

Ayler Records
2023

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Crustal Movement

Circum-Disc
2023

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Torrent

Libra Records
2023

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Mosaic

Libra Records
2022

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Senzai Ichigu

NativeWit Productions
2022

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Torrent

From: Torrent
By Satoko Fujii

Perpetual Motion III

From: Perpetual Motion
By Satoko Fujii

One Hundred Dreams Part 1

From: Hyaku: One Hundred Dreams
By Satoko Fujii

Underground

From: Underground
By Satoko Fujii

Habana's Dream

From: Mosaic
By Satoko Fujii

Molecular

From: Beyond
By Satoko Fujii

Prickly Pear Cactus

From: Prickly Pear Cactus
By Satoko Fujii

Kaineko

From: Koneko
By Satoko Fujii

Entity

From: Entity
By Satoko Fujii

Rolling Down

From: Baikamo
By Satoko Fujii

Painted By Moonlight

From: Four
By Satoko Fujii

Asatsuyu

From: Confluence
By Satoko Fujii

Imagine Meeting You Here 1

From: Imagine Meeting You Here
By Satoko Fujii

Neppa

From: Kikoeru - Tribute to Masaya...
By Satoko Fujii

021305

From: Diary 2005-2015: Yuko Yamaoka...
By Satoko Fujii

Yellow Sky

From: Live at Big Apple in Kobe
By Satoko Fujii

Long Journey

From: Mizu
By Satoko Fujii

1538

From: 1538
By Satoko Fujii

Available Gravity

From: Triad
By Satoko Fujii

Ninety-Nine Years

From: Ninety-Nine Years
By Satoko Fujii

Hypnotique Sympathie

From: Atody Man
By Satoko Fujii

Inori

From: 'Solo'
By Satoko Fujii

1

From: Fukushima
By Satoko Fujii

Liberation

From: Aspiration
By Satoko Fujii

Kunpuu

From: Kisaragi
By Satoko Fujii

Thought

From: Invisible Hand
By Satoko Fujii

Ichigo Ichie 2

From: Ichigo Ichie
By Satoko Fujii

Potential Energy

From: Yamiyo Ni Karasu
By Satoko Fujii

Running Around

From: Uminari
By Satoko Fujii

Gen Himmel

From: Shiki
By Satoko Fujii

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