All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Multiple Reviews

236

Satoko Fujii: Undulation and Live!!

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count








Satoko Fujii Orchestra NY
Undulation
Polystar
2006


Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo
Live!!
Libra
2005




It would be easy to assume that there's something to be gleaned about the differences between Eastern and Western jazz from pianist Satoko Fujii's New York and Tokyo orchestras. Fujii is a singular composer, generally more rooted in the American tradition than bringing Orientalism into the work and is one of the most innovative bandleaders with standing ensembles around. Like Ellington, for the most part, Fujii writes specifically for the players in the groups, but her compositional voice is her own; just as she doesn't attempt to create a Japanese flavor, she doesn't try to do the New York thing with the Orchestra West.

She is also a seemingly tireless innovator, finding new approaches with each recording and here the twists lie not in the bending of tradition but the embrace of it. The 14 pieces across these two discs (with one shared) are among Fujii's most 'mainstream' jazz compositions. In some circles, those might be walking words, but Fujii here is in the world of tradition, not neo-tradition. And with such remarkable performers, the recordings are a joy. Orchestra West is comprised of many of New York's finest: saxophonists Oscar Noriega, Briggan Krauss, Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby and Andy Laster; trumpeters Herb Robertson, Steven Bernstein, Dave Ballou and Fujii's husband Natsuki Tamura; trombonists Curtis Hasselbring, Joe Fiedler and Joey Sellers; and a rhythm section of Stomu Takeishi on bass, Aaron Alexander on drums and the leader on piano. The Tokyo Orchestra, not surprisingly, has fewer names known to New Yorkers, but it includes trumpeter Yoshihito Fukumoto (a Grammy nominee), trombonist Tetsuya Higashi and drummer Akira Horikoshi (who has worked with the ROVA saxophone quartet).

Fujii diplomatically gives two solos per piece so each member gets a spot, but it's really the charts that define the discs. Of the two, the Tokyo group pushes harder, likely because she has more opportunity to work with them. The 2000 release Double Take, with a disc by each of the New York and Tokyo groups, remains the essential Fujii Orchestra document, but these strong, spirited updates are more than welcome.


Tracks and Personnel

Undulation

Tracks: Metal; Water; Wood; The Moon; The Sun; Undulation; Fire; The Earth.

Personnel: Oscar Noriega, Briggan Krauss: alto sax; Ellery Eskelin, Tony Barba: tenor sax; Andy Laster: baritone sax; Herb Robertson, Steven Bernstein, Dave Ballou, Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Joe Fiedler, Curtis Hasselbring, Brian Allen: trombone; Satoko Fujii: piano; Stomu Takeishi: bass; Aaron Alexander: drums.

Live!!

Tracks: Scramble; Water; An Unpaved Road; A Brick House; A Submarine Volcano; Fue Taiko; Bennie's Waltz.

Personnel: Sachi Hayasaka: soprano and alto saxophones; Kunihiro Izumi: alto saxophone; Kenichi Matsumoto, Masaya Kimura: tenor saxophones; Ryuichi Yoshida: baritone saxophone; Natsuki Tamura, Takao Watanabe, Yoshihito Fukumoto, Yusaku Shirtani: trumpets; Haguregumo Nagamatsu, Tetsuya Higashi, Yasuyuki Takahashi: trombones; Satoko Fujii, piano; Toshiki Nagata, bass; Akira Horikoshi, drums

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Hypnotique Sympathie

Hypnotique Sympathie

Satoko Fujii
Atody Man

Liberation

Liberation

Satoko Fujii
Aspiration

Kunpuu

Kunpuu

Satoko Fujii
Kisaragi

Thought

Thought

Satoko Fujii
Invisible Hand

Ichigo Ichie 2

Ichigo Ichie 2

Satoko Fujii
Ichigo Ichie

Potential Energy

Potential Energy

Satoko Fujii
Yamiyo Ni Karasu

Running Around

Running Around

Satoko Fujii
Uminari

Gen Himmel

Gen Himmel

Satoko Fujii
Shiki

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Atody Man

Atody Man

Libra Records
2018

buy
Bright Force

Bright Force

Libra Records
2018

buy
Ninety-Nine Years

Ninety-Nine Years

Libra Records
2018

buy
Solo

Solo

Libra Records
2018

buy
Solo

Solo

Libra Records
2018

buy
'Solo'

'Solo'

Libra Records
2018

buy

Related Articles

Read Brazilian Brilliance: Kassin and Domenico Lancellotti Multiple Reviews
Brazilian Brilliance: Kassin and Domenico Lancellotti
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 12, 2018
Read Clean Feed 2018 Multiple Reviews
Clean Feed 2018
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 9, 2018
Read Nylon Strings and Other Things: Albums by Jean Chaumont and Kreisberg/Veras Multiple Reviews
Nylon Strings and Other Things: Albums by Jean Chaumont and...
by Patrick Burnette
Published: May 8, 2018
Read Jazzing Up Childhood Memories Multiple Reviews
Jazzing Up Childhood Memories
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 4, 2018
Read The Art of the Quintet: Voro Garcia and Magnus Thuelund Multiple Reviews
The Art of the Quintet: Voro Garcia and Magnus Thuelund
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: April 2, 2018
Read The Eclectic Sounds of ears&eyes Multiple Reviews
The Eclectic Sounds of ears&eyes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "Jon Catler: Sacred and Profane" Multiple Reviews Jon Catler: Sacred and Profane
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 3, 2018
Read "Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue" Multiple Reviews Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed" Multiple Reviews Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed
by Nigel Campbell
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Two Sides of Marc Copland: Quartet and Solo" Multiple Reviews Two Sides of Marc Copland: Quartet and Solo
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: February 25, 2018
Read "Roots In The Green Mountains" Multiple Reviews Roots In The Green Mountains
by Doug Collette
Published: July 29, 2017
Read "Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment" Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017