22

Satoko Fujii: Satoko Fujii Solo

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
In celebration of her sixtieth birthday, pianist/composer Satoko Fujii plans to release twelve albums in one year; one for each month of 2018. With many other artists it would be fair to question whether such output would compromise the integrity of the music but Fujii is—and has been—one of the most inexhaustible artists of her kind. Foregoing excellence has never been an option for her, and on the first issue of the planned sequence, Solo she exceeds expectations.

Solo was recorded at Yumemikan Hall in Japan and contains seven pieces combining spontaneous improvisation, a standard and selections mostly from Fujii's own Libra label songbook. She opens with "Inori," first recorded by her Orchestra Tokyo on Zakopane (2010). The slowly building solo version is in stark contrast to the original. Fujii uses the entire piano—inside and out—on the improvised "Geradeaus" then moves on to an extended version of "Ninepin" from Live In Japan (PolystarINatSat, 2004). "Spring Storm," from the album of the same name (2013) precedes Fujii personal favorite, "Gen Himmel." The peaceful composition is in memory of Fujii's late bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu and has appeared on two of her previous recordings. The album closes with the sole cover piece, Jimmy Giuffre's "Moonlight" where Fujii again plays inside and outside the piano.

"Gen Himmel" is an excellent example of how Fujii reworks her creations in ways that make them stand out as singular accomplishments. This particular piece has appeared as the title track of her 2013 solo release, on Shiki with the Orchestra New York (2014) and on the live solo, double-CD Invisible Hand (2017). In each case, there are discrepancies in pacing and accenting, none of which dispense with the original emotion of her composition. Solo is only the fourth such outing for this exceedingly prolific artist who should be more highly regarded by Western audiences. With this first release in a year's worth of events, Fujii sets the bar high. That's not unusual for an artist who seems to create new benchmarks with every release.

Track Listing

Inori; Getadeux; Ninepin; Spring Storm; Gen Himmel; Up Down Left Right; Moonlight.

Personnel

Satoko Fujii: piano.

Album information

Title: Solo | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Libra Records

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Morning Light
Morning Light
By David A. Orthmann
Read Berit In Space
Berit In Space
By Mark Corroto
Read Cherry Jam
Cherry Jam
By Karl Ackermann
Read Live In Willisau
Live In Willisau
By Troy Dostert
Read Serenity Island
Serenity Island
By Mike Jurkovic
Read Albare Plays Jobim
Albare Plays Jobim
By Edward Blanco
Read Ecology
Ecology
By Toj Samaz