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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda: Duet

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The story behind the creation of the miraculous album, Duet by pianist Satoko Fujii and bassist Joe Fonda is one of those things that makes one a believer in karma. Although both have played with reed man Gebhard Ullmann in various configurations, Fujii and Fonda had never met, and had not heard much, if any, of each other's music. Now, this might seem strange since both are acknowledged leaders of free/avant-garde jazz, and both have powerful musical personalities ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda with Natsuki Tamura: Duet

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Two of creative music's most inventive forces come together on Duet. Musical restiveness is at the core of pianist/accordionist and composer Satoko Fujii. With a catalogue three-score deep, she has covered formations from large orchestra to solo where the common denominator is her wide and daring exploration of improvisational spaces. Her adroit aptitude for moving through--and sometimes combining--elements of her native Japanese folk music, classical and discordant free improvisation, have made her one of the more consistently interesting artists in ...


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