Satoko Fujii Tobira: Yamiyo Ni Karasu

Dan McClenaghan By

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Pianist Satoko Fujii, based now in Berlin, makes uniquely tumultuous music, intersecting a rolling and tumbling near chaos with moments of pastoral beauty and fierce, pounding grooves. Ever restless, she forms new groups filled with fearless musicians with always interesting results. She debuted her Satoko Fujii New Trio in 2013 with Spring Storm, (Libra Records), and now adds to that stew the provocative spice of trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, to make Satoko Fujii Tobira. Yamiyo Ni Karasu is the very successful result.

Tamura, who is Fujii's husband, collaborates with the pianist often. There are the stunningly beautiful and always provocative duet sets, Chun (Libra Records, 2008) and Muku (Libra Records, 2012), which are essential Fujii/Tamura listening experiences. There is also the group Kaze, a two trumpet, piano/drums storm front, numerous big bands and the muscular, hard rock-infused Satoko Fujii Quartet. And, as always with the ever prolific Fujii, this is a very partial list.

The addition of trumpeter Tamura to this piano trio fourth makes the group dynamic more intense. These are four strong personalities, and they play with a supreme confidence, and extreme exultation. For all Fujii's often dense, percussive, powerhouse technique, she is also, in her compositions, a master of space, a master of interludes of nuance and delicacy that is often set off against an explosive drum interjection from Takashi Itani, or a sputtering, spitting Tamura trumpet, or a dark, muscular bass statement from Todd Nicholson. With Fujii tunes, there is often the mood of entering an unsettled weather system, with full force gales giving way to eye-of-the-storm tranquility, then a wafting breeze and gentle raindrops, then a huge rumble of thunder that shakes you down to your soul.

Satoko Fujii Tabira is yet another compelling band from the pianist, one that, with Yamiyo Ni Karasu, presents her dynamic artist vision with a hard-charging grace, with a joyful elan.

Track Listing

Hanabi; Run After A Shadow; Fuki; Wind Dance; Centrifugal Force; Potential Energy; Yamiyo Ni Karasu.


Satoko Fujii: piano; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Todd Nicholson: bass; Takashi Itani: drums.

Album information

Title: Yamiyo Ni Karasu | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Libra Records


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