Satoko Fujii


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(Bio by Rocco Stilo)

Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii is on stage since december 1994, when she, for Libra, recorded Something About Water, a piano duo with Paul Bley, followed by some piano solos: Indication in may 1996 and Sketches in august 2003, along with many collaborations with several musicians and lineups: in trios with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black (Looking Out The Window, recorded in april 1997, and Bell The Cat!, recorded in september 2001); in duos, with violinist Mark Feldman in April Shower, recorded in july/december 1999, and Myra Melford (the piano duo Under The Water was recorded in september 2007). More recently, she created the lineup Kaze, along with the trumpetists Christian Pruvost and Natsuki Tamura and drummer Peter Orins, recording a live concert (november 2010), Rafale and then Tornado (Libra, 2013), recorded in october 2012 a bit more melodies-oriented, and not only collective (the final 20-minute Triangle), especially by the pianist who, in the meantime, recorded in september 2012 Gen Himmel, her new piano solo, even more oriented in search of themes and meditations. Here is how she presents these twelve pieces, all brief but the 8-minute Take Right: «When I play solo, I need to hear to myself and listen carefully... 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». Let's remember, finally, the Fujii project Ma-do, she created in 2008 along with trumpetist Natsuki Tamura and rhythm section Norikatsu Koreyasu (bass) and Akira Horikoshi (drums). They recorded three free-form albums: Heat Wave (april 2008), Desert Ship (july 2009) and the final Time Stands Still (june 2011), final because, after bassist's death at the end of the year, the pianist decided to disband the project. The last album is though more theme and melodic-oriented.

Satoko Fujii alternates her soloist career with projects and four great ensembles, Orchestras that take their names from their based-city: Tokyo (four albums until now), Nagoya (three albums), Kobe (one album) and above all New York, whose Shiki (Libra, 2014) is the ninth album. Recorded in january 2013, it features the core ensemble of Stomu Takeishi (bass), Oscar Noriega (bass clarinet and alto sax), Aaron Alexander (drums) and Tony Malaby (soprano and tenor saxes) along with the trombone trio of Curtis Hasselbring, Joe Fiedler, and Joey Sellers, plus Ellery Eskelin (tenor sax), Briggan Krauss (alto sax),  Andy Laster (baritone sax), Natsuki Tamura Herb Robertson, Steven Bernstein and Dave Ballou (a trumpet quartet!). Stands out from the others the namesake 36-minute suite composed by the leader. Let's remember the New York Orchestra's sessionography: South Wind (june 1997), Jo (may 1998), Double Take (october and november 1999), The Future of the Past (september 2001), the two-session Blueprint (september 2001 and july 2003), Undulation (september 2005), Summer Suite (september 2007) and Eto (october 2010).

KAZE returned with Uminari (december 2014), that contains the 21-minute Inspiration. Her 13-piece orchestra Berlin debuted with Ichigo Ichie (january 2014). Tobira, with Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, Satoko Fujii on piano & compositions, Todd Nicholson on bass (he worked with Billy bang) and Takashi Itani on drums, debuted on Yamiyo Ni Karasu (june 2014).

Duet (november 2015) documents a trio with Joe Fonda (contrabass and flute) and Natsuki Tamura (trumpet) and contains the 37-minute Paul Bley.

Orchestra Tokyo's Peace (october 2014) was a tribute to guitarist Kelly Churko, notably the 33-minute 2014.

The live double-disc Invisible Hand (april 2016) is a piano solo.

June (june 2016) was recorded by an expanded Kaze, Trouble Kaze, with a second piano (Sophie Agnel) and a second drummer (Didier Lasserre).

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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