469

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Summer Suite

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Summer Suite Continuing the stream of recordings in her 50th birthday year, pianist Satoko Fujii presents Summer Suite from the New York big band, as well as Sanrei (BKM, 2008) from the Nagoya band. These two are in a series of thirteen big band releases dating back to Jo (Buzz, 1999)—besides the forty-odd other recordings she has lead or played on. You do the math.

Fujii is a complete modernist, bound by no rules, eclectic in predilections and influences, and yet with a strong romantic streak that is closely tied to her perceptions and inspirations of nature. While this connection can be seen by the titles of many of her compositions, many times their sound is surprisingly not pastoral and as far away from the sound of someone like Maria Schneider as can be imagined.

In Summer Suite, the New York band swaggers confidently, in both the scored sections as well as the solos, through the title tune which lasts just over thirty-nine minutes. The sound, anchored by bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Aaron Alexander, feels closely related to Fujii's "rock" quartet in its rhythmic power and intense electric bass bottom as heard in Bacchus (Muzak, 2007).

The music opens with the feeling of nature awakening, produced by many different independent threads including a heroic line—played in unison by much of the band—interjected in rubato time. This eventually becomes the theme played in varying speeds, pushed by a coalesced rhythm section. The piece develops organically and has some glorious free sax and trombone soloing, supported by a growling bass and slashing drums. The theme reappears a few times and provides a skeleton on which the music is built. This is wonderful music, making its length completely arbitrary.

"Sanrei" continues the heroic mood, with brilliant brass choirs answering a theme that manages to be simultaneously bluesy and oriental. Played very much behind the beat and contrasting with strict drums and more growling bass, the theme is taken far afield by the soloists. Nine minutes of glorious music.

Bacchus is actually referenced by "In The Town You Don't See On The Map," which is very recognizable by its jaunty bass vamp. How Fujii adjusts her music to the differing forces, in her quartet and big band, can be easily heard with the two versions.

While the logistics of coordination for both rehearsal and recording must be extremely daunting for a big band, Fujii pulls it off with an ease that is almost shocking. That the New York band enjoys playing her music is audible throughout Summer Suite, and a live performance would border on the ecstatic.


Track Listing: Summer Suite; Sanrei; In The Town You Don't See On The Map.

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

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Libra Records


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Seven Storey Mountain V" CD/LP/Track Review Seven Storey Mountain V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Les Indignés" CD/LP/Track Review Les Indignés
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "Triple Exposure" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Exposure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny" CD/LP/Track Review Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 4, 2016
Read "Winds Of Mouth" CD/LP/Track Review Winds Of Mouth
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 8, 2016
Read "Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations" CD/LP/Track Review Aram Bajakian's Dolphy Formations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!