A hauntingly beautiful set of solo piano works from Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii, subtle work that belies her incredible techincal skill through beautifully paced and meditative music.
Released in: Japan
"Fujii's first solo album since 2004's Sketches (Polystar), Gen Himmel (German for "toward heaven") is simply one of the most purely lyrical albums Fujii has ever made. She seems to choose each note carefully as she deliberately sets melody and harmony in motion over haunting ostinatos. It's also one of her sparest performances; each track is intensely focused and pared down to only the most essential notes. The less-is-more approach yields ravishing music that phrase-by-phrase reveals powerful and unexpected beauty.
With intense focus, she distills "In the Dusk" and "A.S." down to pure, concentrated melody, each solo building from one motif to the next with an inexorable and always engaging logic. "I Know You Don't Know" and "Saka" are darker meditations, with heavy chords and dusky low notes that still manage a majestic beauty thanks to her deliberate pacing and subtle keyboard touch -- low notes toll like church bells and treble notes glitter and shine. Tracks like "Ittari Kitari" and "Hesitation" are propelled by quirky left hand figures that keep the music moving forward with asymmetric steps. The title track and "Take Right" blend in prepared piano for dazzling displays of improvisation that fully integrates unusual timbres, rhythmic variety, and gorgeous melody. A calm joy permeates the entire album.
"When I play solo, I need to hear to myself and listen carefully," Fujii says. "I also get some inspiration from the silence I hear between notes. For me playing in groups is more about self-expression, and playing solo is more like meditation. I tried to take my time and not push myself too much."-Brathwaite & Katz
• 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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Related Categories of Interest:
Piano & Keyboards
Solo Artist Recordings
Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura's Libra Label
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Shipping Weight: 2.00 units
Quantity in Basket: None
Catalog ID: 201-033
Squidco Product Code: 17844
Packaging: Cardstock gatefold foldover
Recorded on September 21st, 2012 by Mike Marciano at Systems Two, New York.
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1. Gen Himmel 2:35
2. In The Dusk 4:32
3. Hesitation 2:26
4. Take Right 8:06
5. Ram 3:02
6. A.S. 4:03
7. Dawn Broun 2:56
8. Summer Solstice 4:22
9. I Know You Don't Know 4:50
10. Ittari Kitari 2:00
11. Saka 2:33
12. Der Traum 4:33