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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii / Natsuki Tamura: Kisaragi

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As creative pairings go, there are none who surpass trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii. The husband and wife team play together in various settings from Fujii's numerous orchestras (New York, Berlin, Tokyo), the quartet Kaze, and the (now) trio formation Gato Libre. The results are never predictable. Their duo outings, more often than not, lean toward quirky lyricism. On Kisaragi, their fifth such recording, the duo opts for improvised abstractions where the emphasis is on unusual sounds.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trouble Kaze: June

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In its original form, the French-Japanese collective Kaze was already a novel proposition, with the double trumpet spearhead of Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost allied to Satoko Fujii's piano and Peter Orins' drums. But on June, the novelty quotient ratchets up a notch further with the doubling of the piano and drum set. That the additional pianist is Sophie Agnel, renowned for her exploration of the piano as a sound generation device, piques the interest yet further. Rather than the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trouble Kaze: June

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Avant-garde pianist/composer Satoko Fujii augments her quartet, Kaze, with an additional piano and another drummer, to create Trouble Kaze, for the release of June. In Fujii's eighty-plus CD discography, Kaze can be counted as one of her most adventurous modes of artistic expression. With trumpeters Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost working an array of extended techniques to push the limits of their instruments to the maximum; with Fujii's prepared and inside-the-piano ministrations, and the often explosive drumming from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii: Invisible Hand

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii: Invisible Hand

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Pianist and composer Satoko Fujii, otherwise known by the cognoscenti as “the Ellington of free jazz" and “musical citizen of the world," has produced an enormous body of work as a leader, co-leader or sideman that now numbers around 80 CDs in many configurations ranging from solo to big band. After spending even a short time listening to her oeuvre, her style, as varied as it is over the different formats and through the years, becomes immediately recognizable as “Fujii." ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii: Invisible Hand

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Peace

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The profusion of settings in which multi-instrumentalist/composer Satoko Fujii works is something of a phenomenon. The extent to which she brings something unique to each of those situations is even more astounding. In her husband Natsuki Tamura's Gato Libre quartet, Fujii typically plays the accordion to interpret the trumpeter's more lyrical and folkloric compositions. The pair has also recorded frequently as a piano/trumpet duo, often pushing the boundaries of modern improvisation. But it is in Fujii's orchestras--New York, Berlin and, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Peace

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If pianist Satoko Fujii is known for anything, it is for the enormous amount of energy that she brings to her work, plus the pace she maintains with groups scattered all over the world. Her latest offering, Peace, with her Tokyo Orchestra was recorded in 2014, as was Ichigo Ichie (her Berlin Orchestra), Uminari (the Kaze quartet) and Yamiyo Ni Karasu (the Tobira quartet), making for quite a year. Peace is a tribute to guitarist Kelly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Peace

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The rumor rolled out in mid-2016 that Japanese pianist/composer/bandleader Satoko Fujii had another orchestral album on the way. Peace was the title. “Peace" isn't a word that normally comes to mind when considering Fujii's music. “Bedlam," maybe, but not “peace." In preparation for the oncoming Peace, three previous Fujii orchestral CDs on Libra Records came down off the shelf and spun onto the sound system: Ichigo Ichie (2015), by her Berlin Orchestra; Shiki (2014) from her New York ...


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