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ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Big in Japan, Part 3: Satoko Fujii’s Year of Living Dangerously

Read "Big in Japan, Part 3: Satoko Fujii’s Year of Living Dangerously" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

In the first two parts of this series we looked at the origins of jazz in Japan and its adherence to the American style of composing, arranging and playing. Though jazz has been popular in Japan from the earliest days, it was--as in the United States--hardly met with unanimous approval in a country that prized classical ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Satoko Fujii: Live at Big Apple in Kobe

Read "Live at Big Apple in Kobe" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Another new formation marks the eighth entry in the sixtieth-birthday series of monthly releases from Satoko Fujii. As part of the pianist's year long celebration, she has released albums as a solo performer, a duo (with Joe Fonda), a new trio configuration with Fonda and Italian saxophonist Gianni Mimmo and another with Tamura and drummer Takashi ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

This Is It!: 1538

Read "1538" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

At the half-way point of Satoko Fujii's year-long celebration of her sixtieth birthday, she presents a new trio configuration--This is It!--with familiar figures. Her sixth of twelve releases for the year is titled 1538 and features her almost ubiquitous musical partner and spouse Natsuki Tamura and drummer Takashi Itani. The significance of the title lies in ...

Neko

Label: Libra Records
Released: 2017
Track listing: Tama; Momo; Mii; Hime; Yuza; Tora.

ARTICLE: YEAR IN REVIEW

Karl Ackermann's Best Releases of 2017

Read "Karl Ackermann's Best Releases of 2017" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

2017 was an exceptional year for artists who elude convention; veterans such as Wadada Leo Smith and relative newcomers like Abdul Moimême gave us unique musical insights. It was an outstanding year for solo recordings. Along with Smith and Moimême, Rob Mazurek, Matthew Shipp, Irish multi-instrumentalist Aine O'Dwyer, Cuban pianist Aruán Ortiz, Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York: Fukushima

Read "Fukushima" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Satoko Fujii's Orchestra New York has been together since their 1997 debut South Wind (Leo Lab/Libra). A “super group" by any standards, it has remained largely intact over the course of twenty years, bringing the ensemble to its latest release, Fukushima, a memorial suite. The Fukushima nuclear accident was caused by a major earthquake and a ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Satoko Fujii Quartet: Live At Jazz Room Cortez

Read "Live At Jazz Room Cortez" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

As prolific as Satoko Fujii is, she has never sacrificed quality for quantity. With a half-dozen leader/co-leader releases in just the past year, no two albums have conveyed redundancy, and none have fallen short of her serious artistic standards. Following the live sessions that led to Satoko Fujii's solo recording Invisible Hand (Cortez Sound, 2017), the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Satoko Fujii / Wadada Leo Smith / Natsuki Tamura / Ikue Mori: Aspiration

Read "Aspiration" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The soul of Gato Libre, and the glue that holds numerous global jazz orchestras together, are in the musical and personal partnership that has mastered creative music in a variety of formations and settings. Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura are prolific and boundless and Aspiration is the latest of their more than sixty recordings together. Aspiration ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Satoko Fujii / Natsuki Tamura: Kisaragi

Read "Kisaragi" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

As creative pairings go, there are none who surpass trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii. The husband and wife team play together in various settings from Fujii's numerous orchestras (New York, Berlin, Tokyo), the quartet Kaze, and the (now) trio formation Gato Libre. The results are never predictable. Their duo outings, more often than not, ...


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