After bringing her band Kaze to the Cortez club in Mito, Japan, the owner asked pianist Satoko Fujii back to perform a solo show, captured here across two CDs showing her extensive technical skills and passionate approach to playing, in a mix of new work and new takes on previously recorded compositions.
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Label: Cortez Sound
Catalog ID: CSJ 0001/0002
Squidco Product Code: 23811
Format: 2 CDs
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve
Recorded at Cortez, in Mito, Japan on April 28th,2016, by Music Plant.
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1. Thought 8:04
2. Increase 8:58
3. Invisible Hand 13:01
4. Floating 15:20
5. Hayase 6:13
1. I Know You Don't Know 7:30
2. Spring Storm 10:45
3. Inori 7:54
4. Green Cab 6:09
5. Gen Himmel 4:28
Solo Artist Recordings
Piano & Keyboards
Japanese & Asian Improv/Rock
Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura's Libra Label
New in Improvised Music
sample the album:
"Satoko Fujii's extensive discography-about eighty releases, including recordings by several big bands and a variety a small combo groups-solo piano outings are scarce. There was Sketches (NatSat Records, 2004); and Gen Himmel (Libra Records, 2013), and not much else. Until now, with a Invisible Hand, a double CD set, recorded live at the jazz club Cortez, in Mito, Japan.
Set 1 (disc 1), features Fujii's explorations in free improvisation. In contrast to her ensemble music-often explosive and brazen, occasionally wild and wall-shaking, bursting with sudden shifts in mood and dynamics-the pianist in the solo setting is more often contemplative, drifting through tranquil segments of melodic reverie, punctuated by piquant bits of dampened string noise, judicious silences and the occasional orchestral-like harmonies elicited, somehow, by inside-the-piano ministrations. And it's always distinctly original.
"Thought," the opening tune of Disc 1, is a deep immersion into classical music-like introspection, a patient unfolding of spare and beautiful ideas. "Increase" delves into a jagged, agitated atmosphere, with clipped phrasings and Fujii-esque burst of notes and sharp angles. "Floating" drifts into the realm of marimba-toned wind chimes sounds.
Dis 2 Includes two of Fujii's previous compositions: "Spring Storm," the title track from her album by her New Trio. It starts out with a solemn feeling, all calmness and tranquility, scattered rain drops bursting prettily on the ground, over time gaining intensity of a steadily insistent precipitation and evolving into a squall; and "Gen Himmel," the title track of her previous solo outing, a somber tune with a holy glow. Fujii, like her early-career mentor, a Paul Bley, produces a steady stream of ideas, eschewing repetition and cliche in the crafting of her solo work, her loveliest and most accessible music.
Fujii's first appearance at Cortez featured her band Kaze, one of her stranger, more "out there" groups. The response was so positive that Cortez' owner, Teruhiko Ito, invited Fujii back to play a solo show, for an experience that couldn't be more different than the sound of Kaze. But her performance so impressed him, he decided to form his own record label, Cortez Sound: the label's first offering: the recording of the show, Satoko Fujii's marvelous Invisible Hand."-Dan Mcclenaghan
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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