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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

This Is It!: 1538

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Pianist/composer Satoko Fujii's June 2018 edition of her CD-release-a-month celebration of her sixtieth birthday introduces a new trio, called This Is It!. The group's debut recording takes its name from the Celsius melting point of iron. The group is a variation on the Satoko Fujii New Trio, a piano trio that released the excellent Spring Storm (Libra Records, 2014). The new configuration replaces bassist Todd Nicholson with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura. Fujii and drummer Takashi Itani remain. The music ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

This Is It!: 1538

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At the half-way point of Satoko Fujii's year-long celebration of her sixtieth birthday, she presents a new trio configuration--This is It!--with familiar figures. Her sixth of twelve releases for the year is titled 1538 and features her almost ubiquitous musical partner and spouse Natsuki Tamura and drummer Takashi Itani. The significance of the title lies in Fujii's wish to convey the imagery of intense heat and 1538 degrees Celsius is the temperature at which iron melts. It's safe to say ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii: Triad

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Triad is the fifth of twelve monthly albums to be released as part of pianist-composer Satoko Fujii's extended celebration of her sixtieth birthday. It is also her second album with the legendary American bassist Joe Fonda. Duet (Long Song Records, 2016), recorded live in Portland, Maine in 2015, had brought the pair together at Fonda's request though the two were barely familiar with each other's music. Despite the album title, one of the two tracks included Fujii's trumpeter husband Natsuki ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kira Kira: Bright Force

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Kira Kira's otherwise all-Japanese lineup includes Australian keyboardist Alister Spence to round out a topsy-turvy experimental soundscape with lateral movements, surging improv, cascadinging keys and free-spirited flareups. Renowned pianist and composer Satoko Fujii and her associates explore a multidimensional territory with avant-garde extremism combined with structured song-forms or themes, and brashly enacted polyrhythms supplied by drummer Ittetsu Takemura. Fuji's husband and frequent collaborator, Natsuki Tamura's agile and power-packed trumpet is in full-force with typically brisk phrasings and edgy shadings.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kira Kira: Bright Force

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Pianist Satoko Fujii was playing for the Sydney Improvised Music Association in 2007 when she first crossed paths with composer/keyboardist/effects artist Alister Spence. Kindred spirits in terms of boundless musical interests, their initial collaboration took place in 2008 after their respective groups shared the stage at the Tokyo Jazz Festival. Later that year, the two recorded as part of The Raymond MacDonald International Big Band on Buddy (Textile Records, 2010). That group included Fujii's trumpeter husband Natsuki Tamura and accounts ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kira Kira: Bright Force

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The label “music" may be too confining for these sounds. Let us call it an ear-opening sonic experience. That's what pianist Satoko Fujii, with her new group, Kira Kira, has created with a compelling recording called Bright Force. In the year 2018, every review of Fujii's output will include a prelude describing her decision to release an album per month, in celebration of her sixtieth birthday. She does know how to throw a dynamic and distinctive celebration.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin: Ninety-Nine Years

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Three months and three releases into the Satoko Fujii's sixtieth birthday project, the eclectic composer keeps the mix from her musical arsenal, a varied and intriguing monthly adventure. Ninety-Nine Years follows her 2018 Libra releases Solo and Kaze's Atody Man and here Fujii calls out her larger company of Orchestra Berlin. Of her five distinct orchestras, Berlin is the most recently formed having debuted on Libra in 2015 with Ichigo Ichie. The ensemble from the maiden release remains intact with ...

INTERVIEWS

Satoko Fujii: the Gift of Music

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One of the most original and prolific voices in jazz today, Satoko Fujii is celebrating 2018, the year of her 60th birthday (which will fall on October 9th), by intensifying her already intense recording schedule. The Japanese pianist and composer will be releasing one CD a month featuring new works for some of her current groups, launching special projects and introducing new bands. All About jazz: Let's talk about your plan of releasing one CD a month until ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kaze: Atody Man

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The second offering in Satoko Fujii's 60th birthday CD-a-month marathon is by her long time quartet, Kaze. The group's instrumentation of two trumpets, piano and drums would lead you to think it's heavily experimental and abstract, but while those elements are present, there is, on Atody Man, always a sense of order to this music with even the thorniest passages always resolving into logical ends. One piece, “Morning Glow," is one of Fujii's prettier compositions. It starts with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kaze: Atody Man

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Atody Man is the fifth album from the quartet Kaze. Beginning with Rafale (Circum-Libra, 2011), the group--initiated by French drummer Peter Orins--has been one of many showcases for the eclectic music of pianist Satoko Fujii and her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura. The unusual formation includes a second trumpeter, Christian Pruvost, also from France. Atody Man also marks the second entry in Fujii's sixtieth birthday project, with a planned monthly-release throughout the year. The “Atody" part of the album title comes ...