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Satoko Fujii: Solo

Mark Corroto By

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Solo piano performances generally fall into one of two categories—introverted or extraverted affairs. Obvious examples of extraverts are Fats Waller and Art Tatum, while inward-looking pianists are Brad Mehldau and Bill Evans. Extraverts play music pointed at the audience, while introverts internalize the experience.

How then do we categorize the music of Satoko Fujii? Her large ensemble creations, like Orchestra New York's Fukushima (Libra, 2017), are bold outward-bound adventures. The same can be said of her Berlin, Nagoya, Kobe and Tokyo orchestra, her trios (both Japanese and American lineups), multiple quartets, and in duo. It is only when she performs solo, that we fully experience the introspective artist.

Fujii's performance at Yume Mikan Hall in Yawatahama, Japan in July of 2017 is not her first solo recording. Solo follows Invisible Hand (Cortez Sound, 2017) and a handful of others. This might be her finest solo outing, one equal to Keith Jarrett's idolized Köln Concert (ECM, 1975). The hall is perfect and the sound is pristine.

"Inori" opens the concert with one resonating note and is followed by several more, then melodies are revealed, all of which make you a voyeur of something very private. Once you have become her confidante, she opens her lens further. "Geradeaus" and "Ninepin" venture inside the piano, mining the metallic parts for ambient tones, then working with the percussive qualities of the piano. The beauty here is that it is all in service of the composition. She can trace solid lines with her left hand as with "Spring Storm," or signal radiance via plucked stings with a cover of Jimmy Giuffre's "Moonlight." Much like her former mentor and teacher Paul Bley Fujii's music is both introspective and ultimately extroverted.

Track Listing: Inori; Geradeaus; Ninepin; Spring Storm; Gen Himmel; Up Down Left Right; Moonlight.

Personnel: Satoko Fujii: Steinway D274 piano.

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

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Available Gravity

Available Gravity

Satoko Fujii
Triad

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

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'Solo'

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