The Squid's Ear Magazine

Toh-Kichi (Satoko Fujii / Tatsuya Yoshida): Baikamo (Libra)

The duo of Japanese improvisers, pianist Satoko Fujii and drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, continue their collaborations which includes many albums with the Satoko Fujii Quartet, their duo "Erans" record on Tzadik, and the original "Toh-Kichi" album on Victo, here in a new studio album of intricate, energetic and ebullient improvised dialogs, named for the aquatic flower "Baikamo".

Price: $16.95


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product information:

UPC: 4562162308593

Label: Libra
Catalog ID: 202-059
Squidco Product Code: 28220

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: Japan
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Artpia Studio 2, in Nagoya, Japan, on July 24th, 2019, by Tatsuya Yoshida; libe at Monk Bar, in Matsuyama, Japan, on Feburary 26th, 2019 by Toshihiro Toyoshima, Akio Ishiyama, Naofumi Sato and Mitsuru Itani.


Satoko Fujii-piano

Tatsuya Yoshida-drums

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Don't know how she does it, but pianist Satoko Fujii has released yet another compelling ensemble. Somewhere in between her solo performances, multi-continent large ensembles, quartets Kira Kira, Gato Libre and Kaze (to name just a few projects), she wrote music, toured and recorded with drummer Tatsuya Yoshida in 2019.

Toh-Kichi isn't Fujii's first duo with Yoshida, there's Erans (Tzadik, 2004) and Toh-Kichi (Les Disques Victo, 2002). It's just that this reunion outing is sort of a surprise and a welcome one at that. The music is an interface between composed and free music, and classic and art-rock improvisation. Yoshida, who can be heard in Fujii's early quartet recordings, is probably best known as the drummer in the Japanese avant-garde band The Ruins, he also did a stint in the John Zorn's jazz-grindcore band Painkiller.

Made up of sixteen tracks, the music is split 50/50 between composed and freely-improvised pieces, with Fujii writing four and Yoshida writing four compositions. Opening with a Cecil Taylor / Han Bennink-inspired improvisation "Gidvbadhopen," the duo careen in a hazardous path towards Fujii's tight and intensive "Rolling Down." Each track is like a sonic centrifuge with the pair separating pandemonium from order, only to have the musical contents reconnect on the next track. "Zpajigemfluxss" could have been covered by Zorn's Naked City as it jump-cuts bewteen rock, jazz, funk, and surf music. "Front Line" sounds like a soundtrack to a Warner Brother's cartoon you daydream about. There is an ascending chase that splits in multiple directions before skating on some ice crystals. In the same vein is Yoshida's composition "Climber's High." It plays off of a film's climax with its intensity and intricate forward drive. Elsewhere, Fujii works a prepared piano's inside on several tracks. What Fujii and Yoshida do best is alter time, shaping music by an improvisational flow state or maybe ESP."-Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

Get additional information at All About Jazz

Artist Biographies

"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 (

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"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 (

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Track Listing:

1. Gidvbadhopen 1:03

2. Rolling Down 4:11

3. Hvwebsjhoill 2:00

4. No Reflection 4:34

5. Zpajigemfluxss 2:13

6. Baikamo 4:13

7. Ajhisakdafitch 1:59

8. Aspherical Dance 5:34

9. Djofaksobhisc 2:09

10. Laughing Birds 2:44

11. Ovgwebkwum 5:58

12. Front Line 4:26

13. Ruvwsevjieck 2:08

14. Climber's High 4:04

15. Walsjhechirfo 5:02

16. Ice Age 4:28

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Asian Improvisation & Jazz
Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura's Libra Label
Duo Recordings
Piano & Keyboards
Percussion & Drums
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