Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

Jazz Articles

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Satoko Fujii with her various ensembles: Ichicgo Icihie, Yamiyo Ni Karasu and Kaze's Uminari

Read "Satoko Fujii with her various ensembles: Ichicgo Icihie, Yamiyo Ni Karasu and Kaze's Uminari" reviewed by

Words like superb, outstanding or splendid are redundant when writing about pianist, accordionist and composer Satoko Fujii. With an average of five releases per year over the past decade, she is indeed one of the most prolific musicians. The abundance of her output though is never at the expense of its quality or originality. As the trio of 2015 albums demonstrates Fujii, with her various ensembles, is restlessly innovative with an unparalleled skill and a singularly captivating musical vision.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin: Ichigo Ichie

Read "Ichigo Ichie" reviewed by

The huge dual drum opening of part 1 of the title piece is a clear signal that with Ichigo Ichie, pianist/composer/conductor Satoko Fujii is not going to hold back when introducing her latest orchestral group of Berlin (which she now calls home). Orchestra Berlin is Fujii's fifth such group (after creating and recording with orchestras in New York, Tokyo, Nagoya and Kobe) and it has a unique personality all its own. Four of the five tracks consist of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin: Ichigo Ichie

Read "Ichigo Ichie" reviewed by

If there is any doubt that a Satoko Fujii orchestra is an ensemble of a different color, one simply needs to look at the bleeding-edge personnel that have played a part in her New York, Chicago and several Japan based versions. Now a Berlin variety of her troupe presents Ichigo Ichie, the pianist's first European player dominated big band. Like all of Fujii's compositional collections, she creates and arranges to the strengths of the assorted band members and the results ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Tobira: Yamiyo Ni Karasu

Read "Yamiyo Ni Karasu" reviewed by

If ever there were a restless musical spirit, it would be pianist, composer (and occasional accordionist) Satoko Fujii. The Japanese artist has issued more than sixty recordings in settings from solo to full orchestra and most everything in between. While she demonstrates virtuosic straight-ahead balladry on occasion, her preference has long leaned toward unorthodox improvisation. Fujii has recorded with Tin Hat's violinist Carla Kihlstedt, pianist Myra Melford and fronted a trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black. Much ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Tobira: Yamiyo Ni Karasu

Read "Yamiyo Ni Karasu" reviewed by

If it were possible to give ten stars to Yamiyo Ni Karasu, it would deserve every single one for its power, inventiveness and the sheer ecstasy of creation in the moment. Pianist, composer, improviser and overall whirlwind Satoko Fujii returns to once again lead a quartet, Tobira, which was built from New Trio (which included bassist Todd Nicholson and drummer/percussionist Takashi Itani) by adding trumpeter (and husband) Natsuki Tamura. Her previous quartet, Ma-Do (see Heat Wave, Desert Ship ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Tobira: Yamiyo Ni Karasu

Read "Yamiyo Ni Karasu" reviewed by

Pianist Satoko Fujii, based now in Berlin, makes uniquely tumultuous music, intersecting a rolling and tumbling near chaos with moments of pastoral beauty and fierce, pounding grooves. Ever restless, she forms new groups filled with fearless musicians with always interesting results. She debuted her Satoko Fujii New Trio in 2013 with Spring Storm, (Libra Records), and now adds to that stew the provocative spice of trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, to make Satoko Fujii Tobira. Yamiyo Ni Karasu is the very successful ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin: Ichigo Ichie

Read "Ichigo Ichie" reviewed by

I'm going to propose a computer “app" called Big Band World Domination. With this software players would be able to go forward and backward in time to have big bands compete against each other. Spin back to the territory bands of the 1920s, 30s, all the way to the 1960s, and then up to today. We could face off Walter Page's Blue Devils against Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra, or match Count Basie's band against the Lincoln City Jazz Orchestra. With certainty, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Shiki

Read "Shiki" reviewed by

Pianist Satoko Fujii's Shiki is an intriguing albeit somewhat flawed album. Its dramatic title track and centerpiece clocks over 35 minutes and is filled with sweeping and thrillingly dissonant harmonies and provocative musical ideas. Opening with mournful, expectant drone it goes through a series of alternating symphonic vamps and stimulating instrumental conversations and monologues. These individual expressions, however, are like brilliant fragments of poetic narrative and never coalesce into a cohesive entity. The fascinating cinematic theme provides a ...


Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.