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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

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Album Review

Satoko Fujii / Taiko Saito: Beyond

Read "Beyond" reviewed by John Sharpe


Right from the off, the confluence of grainy flicker and humming drone signals that Beyond won't be like other vibraphone/piano hook ups. Under the moniker Futari, Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and her Berlin-based countrywoman vibraphonist Taiko Saito don't so much take the road less traveled as revel in the thickets, brambles and unexpected clearings discovered when they veer off map. Across nine cuts captured in a studio session during a tour of their homeland, they commune in a texture-based syntax ...

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Album Review

Satoko Fujii: Hazuki

Read "Hazuki" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Going back to the early 1960s, consider Brian Wilson, of Beach Boys fame. And consider his song “In My Room" (with lyrics co-written with Gary Usher), issued as a single and included in the 1963 album Surfer Girl (Capitol Records). It is a sound of loneliness, a poem to a sanctuary, a place that makes it possible to “Lock out all my worries and my fears." It was a breakthrough of sorts for the Beach Boys, a step away from ...

4

Album Review

Futari (Satoko Fujii / Taiko Saito): Beyond

Read "Beyond" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Futari is the duo of pianist Satoko Fujii and vibraphonist Taiko Saito. It is a Japanese word translated into English as 'two persons.' Both persons are world travelers, adept at navigating beyond their own Japanese culture. Fujii has been at it for years, studying in Boston in the 1980s and her releasing her first recording with mentor Paul Bley, Something About Water (Libra Records) in 1996. With time spent in the US and Europe, Fujii's discography is immense, recording solo, ...

6

Album Review

Futari (Satoko Fujii / Taiko Saito): Beyond

Read "Beyond" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Satoko Fujii has found a new sound. The prolific and always adventurous pianist-composer teams with vibraphonist Taiko Saito--tagging their duo Futari--for a beautifully surreal journey called Beyond. “Futari" means 'two people" in Japanese. The two people involved connected in the early 2000s, in Berlin, when Saito was a student at the Berlin University of the Arts. A friendship strengthened when Fujii and her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, moved to Berlin in 2011, settling under the vibraphonist's wings in ...

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Album Review

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Entity

Read "Entity" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Pianist / composer Satoko Fujii has staked out her ground as one of the most original voices in jazz—or in any artform, for that matter. She has released more than eighty albums, beginning with her 1995 debut, Something About Water (Libra Records), a piano duet set with Paul Bley. She tours relentlessly. She records in every ensemble format imaginable: solos, duos, trios, quartets and big bands. Lots of big bands, based in Berlin, Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya, New York.

10

Album Review

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Entity

Read "Entity" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


As she did in 2019, pianist/composer Satoko Fujii—an artist at home in many formations—opens the new decade with an orchestra recording. Entity, from Fujii's Orchestra New York, is the eleventh release from the ensemble that has remained largely intact for almost twenty-three years. It is an all-star collective that includes saxophonists Oscar Noriega, Ellery Eskelin and Tony Malaby, trumpeters Natsuki Tamura and Herb Robertson, guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Ches Smith. Entity has its moments of tranquility but ...

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Album Review

Satoko Fujii & Tatsuya Yoshida: Baikamo

Read "Baikamo" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Among her vast catalog of formations of every size and shape, some of Satoko Fujii's most interesting work has been in duos, especially those with percussionists. Her most recent such outing was Confluence (Libra, 2019) with Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez, surprisingly melodic, especially compared to her previous drum and piano releases. Fujii reunites with Tatsuya Yoshida on Baikamo and the results are persistently fiery. A listener familiar with Yoshida's role in the alternative rock duo Ruins (with bassist/vocalist Sasaki Hisashi) ...


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