A stunning album of solo performances, the first of 12 monthly releases from Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii celebrating her 60th birthday, in an impressive set of seven original compositions illustrating her incredible skills in both profoundly beautiful and technically spectacular playing inside and out of the piano, an exceptional start to the series.
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Catalog ID: 201-046
Squidco Product Code: 25412
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Yawatahoma Yumemikan, Ehime, Japan, on July 9th, 2017, by Jimmy Guiffre.
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1. Inori 8:09
2. Geradeaus 9:26
3. Ninepin 12:01
4. Spring Storm 12:47
5. Gen Himmel 10:44
6. Up Down Left Right 6:20
7. Moonlight 6:44
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Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura's Libra Label
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sample the album:
"Any solo performance in any discipline-oration, gymnastics, stand-up comedy, music-walks a line between ho-hum and outstanding, between masterful and magnificent. For the pianist, the solo show offers a daunting challenge, and potentially the greatest reward.
Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii takes the alone-at-the-keyboard challenge with the first disc in a proposed "one CD release per month" celebration of her sixtieth birthday. The disc is entitled simply: Solo.
"Contemplative" is a word that comes to mind on the first spin of the disc. Considering Fujii's extensive discography, that's not always the case. Her orchestral outings (Nagoya, Tokyo, New York, Berlin) can ring cataclysmic and chaotic-though it's a chaos that often gels into serene beauty, spiced with lilting melodic interludes. Her group Kaze...get too close to the speakers and it can take the enamel off your teeth.
As the music plays out on Solo, the relatively straightforward beauty and allure intersects with the burstings of brittle, breaking glass splashes, the culminations of gathering momentums. An oddly flattened, percussive left hand bumps in with a beat that sounds like a like a resonant pulse.
Fujii's discography is too vast and varied for the tagging of it with a signature sound. Solo, more so than her other solo affairs-Sketches (Libra Records, 2004), Invisible Hand (Cortez Sound, 2016); or any of her numerous ensembles for that matter-deals in beauty, delicacy of touch, graceful melodicism.
Not that noise doesn't factor in. Fujii loves pure noise. This is, after all, someone who complimented a woman who dropped a cell phone on the floor during a musically spacious moment in a Satoko Fujii Ma-Do concert by saying, in all sincerity: "I liked that sound you made!"
Noise: she opens "Getadeus," the second track of Solo, with what could be mistaken for the addition of electronics, a short circuit, a sizzling hot wire humming behind the drywall. It's not; it's Fujii working her unique sorcery inside the piano, moving from electro-buzz to, on the next tune, "Ninepin," tolling tubular bells. And one slice of the genius of Fujii is that these brief sonic anomalies find fitting space inside the improvisational, neo-classical loveliness of her effort.
Is this Fujii's best? It's hard to say. Maybe. She makes a lot of music. It certainly competes with Chun (Libra Records, 2008) and Muku (Libra Records,2012) as her most beautiful.
Magnificent."-Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
Get additional information at All About Jazz
• Show Bio for Satoko Fujii
"Born on October 9, 1958 in Tokyo, Japan, Fujii began playing piano at four and received classical training until twenty, when she turned to jazz. From 1985-87, she studied at Boston's Berklee College of Music, where her teachers included Herb Pomeroy and Bill Pierce. She returned to Japan for six years before returning to the US to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where her teachers included George Russell, Cecil McBee, and Paul Bley, who appeared on her debut CD Something About Water (Libra, 1996).
Since then Fujii has been an innovative bandleader and soloist, a tireless seeker of new sounds, and a prolific recording artist in ensembles ranging from duos to big bands. She has showcased her astonishing range and ability approximately 80 CDs as leader or co-leader. With each new recording or new band, she explores new aspects of her art.
Regular collaborations include her New York trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black, augmented by trumpeter/husband Natsuki Tamura to form the Satoki Fujii Four; her duo with Tamura; the Satoko Fujii Quartet featuring Tatsuya Yoshida of the Japanese avant-rock duo, The Ruins; Orchestra New York, which boasts the cream of New York's contemporary avant garde improvisers, including saxophonists Ellery Eskelin and Tony Malaby, trumpeters Herb Roberton and Steven Bernstein, and trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, among others; Orchestra Tokyo, drawing on that city's best improvisers; Orchestra Nagoya; Orchestra Kobe; the co-operative trio Junk Box with Tamura and percussionist John Hollenbeck; ma-do, a quartet including Tamura on trumpet, bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu, and Akira Horikoshi; the Min-Yoh Ensemble with Tamura, trombonist Hasselbring, and accordionist Andrea Parkins; the Satoko Fujii New Trio, featuring bassist Todd Nicholson and drummer Takashi Itani― plus countless engagements and collaborations with some of the world's most important improvisers."-Satoko Fujii Website (http://www.satokofujii.com/bio.html)
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