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Fujii, Satoko

Torrent (Piano Solo)

Fujii, Satoko: Torrent (Piano Solo) (Libra)

The ninth solo album from pianist Satoko Fujii, the most recent in a "torrent" of solo releases over the last six years, this album a remarkable display of force and beauty in improvised playing on the keyboard and inside the piano, captured live at IYO Yume Mari Kan Bunka Hall in six improvisations of cascading notes and introspective passages; spectacular!

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product information:

Includes a 6-page foldout color booklet with liner notes by Mizuki Misumi in English and Japanese.

UPC: 456162308722

Label: Libra
Catalog ID: 201-072
Squidco Product Code: 33237

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: Japan
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at IYO Yume Mari Kan Bunka Hall, on October 10th, 2022, by Toshihiro Toyoshima.


Satoko Fujii-piano

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"In the past six years, Fujii has released five solo albums. Prior to that, she had made only four solo releases since 1997. This increased focus on unaccompanied playing has two main sources according to Fujii. "During the pandemic I wasn't able to play with others, of course, and I learned how to record myself at home, so I made some solo albums. That's part of the reason I continue to record solo after the pandemic," she says. "But also, I feel more comfortable now playing unaccompanied. It's like looking down into myself. It is deep and quiet-and sometimes very dark."

This album was recorded during a concert set up by Fujii's friend, Mitsuru Itani, a music lover who also produced the concert that resulted in Solo in 2018. "This time, I wanted to play totally different," she says. "I didn't decide anything in advance-I just went on stage and played. None of the pieces had names when they were played. I named them later. Somehow I ended up giving them all titles suggesting travel or a voyage by sea.

In contrast to the spacious and introspective Solo, Torrent is more dense and energized, but still very much the work of an improvising composer. For instance the title track opens with an introductory splash of notes, then sprints forward with dancing, sinuous lines that cover the entire keyboard. Fujii develops the music freely, intuitively, but with intention and purpose, an approach of which she is a master. "Voyage" journeys from isolated, twinkling plucked piano-wire tones to melodic lines propelled by galloping left-hand patterns. Fujii makes the evolution from no beat to driving rhythms sound entirely natural and unforced. On "Light on the Sea Surface," as notes ripple in the lower register and short phrases wink on and off, you can hear how the improvisation inspired the title. Fujii turns the piece into a foreboding tone poem of restrained power and menace. She seamlessly integrates many ways of making music on the piano, blending unconventional sounds made on the inside of the piano with lyrical melodies played on keyboard, to create "Cut the Painter." The lovely "Horizon" showcases her precise phrasing, clear articulation, and her sure sense of development and drama. On Torrent, all Satoko Fujii's strengths come together in a major statement on the state of her art."-Libra

Pianist and composer Satoko Fujii, "an improviser of rumbling intensity and generous restraint" (Giovanni Russonello, New York Times), is one of the most original voices in jazz today. For more than 25 years, she has created a unique, personal music that spans many genres, blending jazz, contemporary classical, rock, and traditional Japanese music into an innovative synthesis instantly recognizable as hers alone. A prolific composer for ensembles of all sizes and a performer who has appeared around the world, she was the recipient of a 2020 Instant Award in Improvised Music, in recognition of her "artistic intelligence, independence, and integrity."

Since she burst onto the scene in 1996, Fujii has performed and recorded prolifically. In 2022, she released her 100th album as a leader. On the way to this impressive milestone, she has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music. Highlights include a piano trio with Mark Dresser and Jim Black (1997-2009), and an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins (2001-2008). In addition to a wide variety of small groups of different instrumentation, Fujii also performs in a duo with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, with whom she's recorded eight albums since 1997. She and Tamura are also one half of the international free-jazz quartet Kaze, which has released six albums since their debut in 2011. Fujii has established herself as one of the world's leading composers for large jazz ensembles. Fully a quarter of her albums have been with jazz orchestras, prompting Cadence magazine to call her "the Ellington of free jazz."

Includes a 6-page foldout color booklet with liner notes by Mizuki Misumi in English and Japanese.

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!

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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Track Listing:

1. Torrent 7:24

2. Voyage 12:07

3. Light On The Sea Surface 10:28

4. Cut The Painter 10:05

5. Horizon 5:34

6. Wave Crust 7:16

Related Categories of Interest:

Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura's Libra Label
Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Asian Improvisation & Jazz
Piano & Keyboards
Solo Artist Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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