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Satoko Fujii: Toward,

Jim Santella By

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Jazz can be free, improvised, swinging, fiery, and impressionistic. A highly original artist, Satoko Fujii creates music that swings comfortably while pumping up the adrenalin at the same time. On her 32-minute title track, the pianist persuades her trio to tear down the barriers that separate jazz into pigeonholed categories. Along with the groove, you get a fresh breeze from three remarkable artists. Fujii powers forcefully with dense harmony and all-encompassing motion. Mark Dresser loves to color the session with deep thoughts while bowing and plucking his way through various themes. Jim Black, a man who appreciates all the textures at hand, provides supporting moods and propulsive rhythms. Together, the trio members cook up a spicy stew that remains a mystery until tasted.

The liner notes for this 1998 recording describe Fujii’s work as comparable to that of Cecil Taylor, Keith Jarrett, Don Pullen and Paul Bley. She graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 1987 and from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1996. Fujii splits her performing time between New York and Japan. While each of her albums rates a “top ten” endorsement, they are all different and contain new ideas. What makes Fujii’s music special is the way she wraps up contemporary, world, funk, New Orleans, modern, Latin and fringes into one jazz family. Highly recommended, Satoko Fujii’s latest release brings in the best of all worlds to form a highly-unified, winning team.


Track Listing: Toward,

Personnel: Satoko Fujii- piano; Mark Dresser- bass; Jim Black- drums.

Title: Toward, | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Enja Records


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