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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 ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

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

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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

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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

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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

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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 ...


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