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Fujii Quartet, Satoko

Fujii Quartet, Satoko: Minerva (Libra)
Label: Libra    
Released in: Japan    

"The Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii sure took her followers by surprise with Vulcan, the first album by her quartet. Minerva pushes things a bit further down the rocky road without crossing over to the extremes of Toh-Kichi, her live duo set with Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida. This second opus features the same lineup: Yoshida, bassist Takeharu Hayakawa, and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura. If it moves further away from the avant-garde jazz of Fujii's trio than Vulcan did, it packs less of a punch, mostly because of a somewhat weaker sound. The drums remain too low in the mix, and when Hayakawa steps on the distortion pedal, the bass should roar instead of fizzing out like this. The album begins with "Tatsu Take," a quirky and light composition by Tamura (the other four are by Fujii). If you forget the fact that it fades in awkwardly, it works out very well. Then comes "Warp," menacing with its heavy bass riff, reminiscent of Frank Zappa's "Filthy Habits." Yoshida pitches in some of his trademark vocals, but more importantly drums the tune all the way to hell. In contrast, "Weft" includes a swinging piano solo. The closer, "Caught in a Web," consists of a free-form first half dominated by some of the drummer's most delicate work to date and Tamura's bubbling interventions, before moving into the metrically challenging theme and variations. More convincing in its fusion of avant jazz and avant-prog idioms but less riveting sonically, Minerva still has quite a ride to offer if you dare step inside."-François Couture, All Music

"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 (

"Tatsuya Yoshida, born in Kitakami, Iwate is a Japanese musician; drummer and composer who is the only consistent member of the renowned progressive rock duo Ruins, as well as Koenji Hyakkei. He is also a member of the progressive rock trios Korekyojinn and Daimonji. Outside his own groups, Yoshida is renowned for his tenure as drummer in the indie progressive group YBO2, a band also featuring guitarist KK Null, whom he also joins in the current line up of Zeni Geva and he has played drums in a late edition of Samla Mammas Manna. He has been cited as "[the] indisputable master drummer of the Japanese underground". Along with his participation in bands, he has also released several solo recordings."

-Wikipedia (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Quartet Recordings
Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura's Libra Label

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Price: $16.95
In Stock


Shipping Weight: 4.00 units

Quantity in Basket: None

Product Information:

Label: Libra
Catalog ID: 204-007
Squidco Product Code: 7516

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2003
Country: Japan
Packaging: Jewel tray, not sealed.
Recorded on April 24 by Mike Marciano at Systems Two, NYC.


Natsuki Tamura-trumpet

Satoko Fujii-piano

Takeharu Hayakawa-bass

Tatsuya Yoshida-drums, voice

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Track Listing:

1. Tatsu Take 8:37

2. Warp 12:20

3. Selvedge 4:14

4. Weft 12:42

5. Caught in a Web 12:11