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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Fukushima

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Satoko Fujii's Orchestra New York has been together since their 1997 debut South Wind (Leo Lab/Libra). A “super group" by any standards, it has remained largely intact over the course of twenty years, bringing the ensemble to its latest release, Fukushima, a memorial suite. The Fukushima nuclear accident was caused by a major earthquake and a subsequent tsunami and was the worst such incident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Fujii was in Tokyo at the time, in 2011. There were ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Fukushima

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In 2011 an earthquake set into motion the events that would create partial meltdown of fuel rods in the reactors in nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. Radiation was released. The effects are still felt, and will be for decades (at least)--an especially troubling situation for the only country to have experienced the initially catastrophic and ultimately corrosive and malignant aftermath of a nuclear attack. Satoko Fujii, the Japanese pianist/composer/conductor/band leader has something to say about this, with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Quartet: Live At Jazz Room Cortez

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As prolific as Satoko Fujii is, she has never sacrificed quality for quantity. With a half-dozen leader/co-leader releases in just the past year, no two albums have conveyed redundancy, and none have fallen short of her serious artistic standards. Following the live sessions that led to Satoko Fujii's solo recording Invisible Hand (Cortez Sound, 2017), the pianist/composer was invited back to Jazz Room Cortez in Mito, Japan for a group performance. Two extended pieces from Fujii's repertoire were chosen for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii: Aspiration

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A descent into minimalist precision and emotive texture, Satoku Fuji's Aspiration bequeaths listeners with the depths of creativity that stems from residing on the edge of the avant-garde for decades. Which is precisely where music pioneers pianist Fuji, long-time trumpet partner Natsuki Tamura, electronica experimentalist Ikue Mori, and innovator Wadada Leo Smith remain.The album's six pulsating compositions are the result of the collaboration between these four artists as conceived by Fuji, but were born out of the participants ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii: Aspiration

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The teaming of pianist Satoko Fujii with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, both artists possessed of unwavering and uncompromising artistic visions, comes to life with Aspiration. Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, Fujii's husband and musical partner is here too, as is laptop/electronics wizardess, Ikue Mori, making it a quartet of iconoclasts. Smith and Tamura, two of the most unconventional trumpeters on the scene, players who often explode into wildly “outside" territory, explore here--and this has always been a part of their ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Satoko Fujii / Wadada Leo Smith / Natsuki Tamura / Ikue Mori: Aspiration

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The soul of Gato Libre, and the glue that holds numerous global jazz orchestras together, are in the musical and personal partnership that has mastered creative music in a variety of formations and settings. Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura are prolific and boundless and Aspiration is the latest of their more than sixty recordings together. Aspiration credits Fujii as the album's leader, by virtue of her contributions as the primary composer. Joining Fujii and Tamura are the legendary trumpeter/composer Wadada ...

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 ...


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