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IN THE NEWS

SATOKO FUJII


"Satoko Fujii, one of the most original pianists in free jazzc" \ Steve Greenlee, Boston Globe

"One of the most exciting young pianists in improvised music." \ James Hale, Ottawa Citizen

"Fujii is a talent to watch." \ Duncan Heining, Jazzwise (UK)

gFujii is at or near the peak of her powersc she could be the most important creative musician of our time.h \ Michael Nastos, allmusic

"Satoko Fujii negotiates the path between Cecil Taylor's hyper-kinetic dissonance and more meditative styles of piano players like Randy Weston and Abdullah Ibrahim... Fujii transforms jazz into something architectural, full of designed shapes that jut and jab at the silence of an enclosed space...(Kitsune-bi) is an intimate album, full of interior explorations and adventures." \ Michael Kramer, New York Times 

 gIn a Festival loaded with talented pianists, Satoko Fujii stands out as one of the cream of the cropcOur picks for best of the fest: Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamurah \Adam Kinner, The Gazette Montreal

 gIn jazz from Ellington on, composition has entailed predetermining solo sequences \ knowing in advance not just whom to call on to sustain an established mood, but who can be trusted to anticipate what comes next.  This is where Fujii excelsch \ Francis Davis, Village Voice

gFujii is clearly one of the most exciting musicians to come along in a while.h     \ Robert Iannapollo, Cadence

 gWith the simultaneous release of four albums by four different orchestras under her direction, the Japanese pianist and composer has reinvigorated the big-band concept for the new century – and placed herself at the forefront of the style at the same time.h \ Marc Chnard, Coda

gc this is brash, wild, and wicked fun too.h \ Stuart Derdyne Vancouver Province

"This album is f***ing wild.  Part free jazz a la Zorn, part experimental rock, Satoko's improvisatory collection is wonderfully chaotic, percussive and dissonantc Whether she's furiously smacking the piano around or gently caressing harmonies out of it, Satoko uses the full tonal and dynamic range of the instrument, and it's an exhilarating thing to hear.  Named for the ancient goddess of secrecy, Angelona indeed feels mythical, as well as raw, transcendent, and wonderful." \ Michael Gallant, Keyboard Magazine

"Most noteworthy is Satoko Fujii, who surprises us with her wide spectrum of musical activities.  I would like to nominate her for  'Man & Woman of the Year'." \ Keiichi Konishi, Swing Journal

gca sense of bristling energy demanding release is never far away.h \ Julian Crowley, Wire

"Their music captures the exuberance and freshness of first-time experiences." \ Satoshi Kojima, Strange Days

 gMixing avant garde rock and free jazz, the Satoko Fujii Quartet, led by the intrepid, boundary-breaking pianist Fujii, is stretching the limits of jazz.h  \ Michael Harrington, Philadelphia Inquirer

gSatoko Fujii is one of the leading improvising pianists to emerge in Japan in recent decadesch \ Andy Hamilton, Jazz Review (UK)

gSatoko Fujii is an innovative and fearless pianist who loves rough and tumble free jazz as much as she enjoys composing softer and more lyrical piecesc Jazz lovers around the world need to start taking note of her attack – and her restraint, which is even more impressive.h \ Matt Cibula, Global Rhythm

"Satoko Fujiic looks set to mirror the many-sided career of her famous jazz compatriot Toshiko Akiyoshi. Fujii is on the way to making the same global impression Akiyoshi did from the 1950's on – as a virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a band-leader who gets the best collaborators to deliver."  \ John Fordham, The Guardian

gSeldom has free music had form imposed upon it more gracefully.h \ Chris Kelsey, JazzTimes

 gcFujiifs sound world is a kaleidoscope, and those familiar with her work have come to expect the unexpected. If any artist can be said to meet expectations by upsetting them, shefs one.h \Mike Chamberlain, Coda

"Fujii's music has both lyricism and a sturdy sense of humor, and expands the possibility of "jazz" in the most authentic way.h \ Koji Murai, CD Journal

 gThe New York Orchestra is as sharp as a box of switchblades.h \ Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

gTurbulence is a defining characteristic of Satoko Fujiifs big band projects, where sections of collaborative sonic turmoil roar into moments of no-holds-barred soloing, with the segments of quirky tranquility sneaking in the back doorc Undulation presents Satoko Fujii at the top of her big band game.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gShe surprised us by releasing four different orchestra albums at a timec listeners will enjoy their energetic performances throughout the albums. Interestingly, the difference of the character of each orchestra seems to arise as those of its locality or dialect. There are other interesting points and you should not pass these works bycagain I was impressed by her talent for composition. At any rate, her energy is simply unbelievable. Ifm keen to know where this otherworldy, exceptional vitality of hers comes from.h\ Masahiko Yuh, CD Journal

gThe Big-Band Era is long gone, but don't tell Satoko Fujii: the Japanese pianist-composer currently leads four separate jazz orchestras in different cities, each evincing a distinct character... Fujii has all the requisite skills to arrange for large groups, and in her writing she references predecessors from Thad Jones to Carla Bley; to bring the full picture into focus, add in such elements as the manic melodicism of Frank Zappa, drum rhythms from Japanese taiko, and thickly entwined multiple improvisations (a la Sun Ra)c No serious fan of modern orchestral jazz will go wrong with any of these discs; together, they reiterate Fujii's startling talent and range of interest.h \Neil Tesser, jazz journalist

"After the gig I reported what I had just experienced to a friend of mine on the pay phone in the station for two hours and missed the last train. \ Takayuki Mihoshi, Jazz Critique

gJapanfs top husband-and-wife avant-jazz partnership has teamed up with drummer Hollenbeck for a new trio devoted to the art of gcom-improh, or composed improvisation. Taking pianist Fujiifs partially arranged themes as the springboard for wildly inventive extemporizations, this album bursts with ideas – touching on cerebral, Braxton-esque pseudo classicism; boisterous, AACM-style free-jazzc Cool and clever.h \ Daniel Spicer, Jazzwise

gWhen three creative musicians get together to think outside the box, anything can happen. Fujii calls her new trio Junk Box because of the spontaneous aspect of its performance. Part composition and part collective improvisation, her musical pieces are written out in graphic form instead of the usual notation. Composed improvisation means that direction is given, but the artists have plenty of freedom to make spur-of-the-moment choices, which places their goals squarely in the center of jazzfs definitionc highly recommended.h \ Jim Santella, All About Jazz

gcLive in Japan 2004 provides eloquent testimony to the fact that Fujii is rapidly becoming a major creative force, with an identity thatfs all her own.h \ Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight

"Satoko Fujii rounded up some crack players for this big-band date, and they interpret her melodiously left-of-center compositions and those of her husband, Natsuki Tamura, with real verve...the lyrical edge of the players and the leaders' focused production make Jo consistently involving." \ Billboard

gYou have never heard jazz like this . . . it is based on total freedom and abandon, but rooted in ability! cmost highly recommended.h \ Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

"This fine improvising pianist gets better with every album, and her new Kitsune-bi is no exception." \ Richard Gehr, Village Voice

"Unpredictable, wildly creative, and uncompromisingc she has put out a series of some of the most fascinating/challenging/out-there CDs you'll find anywherec Fujii is an absolutely essential listen for anyone interested in the future of jazz." \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

 gComposer Satoko Fujii is at the forefront of Japanfs contemporary jazz movementc includes everything from brassy improvisations to themes that could be borrowed from classic American film noir.h \ The World, Public Radio International/BBC

 gBlueprint is a fearless blend of postmodern influences that range from contemporary classical music to free jazz.  Fujiifs writing liberates soloistsch \ Mark Holston, Jazziz

gFujii explores the keyboard with fury and finesse. Shefs able to express a wide range of emotions and does so with clarityc Each player is as free as a bird, and nothing holds them back. Live in Japan 2004 comes highly recommended for its universal appeal, its accessibility, and its rhythmic grooves.h   \ Jim Santella, All About Jazz

gFujii has developed a singular voice on the acoustic keyboard.  One of the top jazz composer/improvisers to emerge in the last decade...h \ Sam Prestianni, San Francisco Weekly

"Whether performing with her orchestra, combo, or playing solo piano, Satoko Fujii points the listener towards the future of music itself rather than simply providing entertainment."  \ Junichi Konuma, Asahi Graph

gMixing avant garde rock and free jazz, the Satoko Fujii Quartet, led by the intrepid, boundary-breaking pianist Fujii, is stretching the limits of jazz.h \ Michael Harrington, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Fujii is an instrumentalist in the joyfully aggressive mode of Cecil Taylor.  She can tear even the most deftly
packaged melody the way a child tears into a brightly wrapped birthday present: headlong, hungry, unstoppable... Together with the unflappable bassist Mark Dresser and the limber young drummer Jim Black, Fujii has created a musical statement both intense and invigorating (on Looking Out of the Window)." \ William Stephenson, Jazziz

gThe Satoko Fujii Four explore sound itself, trying to elicit every sound living in their instruments.h
\ Joyce Corbett, The Live Music Report.com

 gThroughout the interplay is exquisite; Fujii and Tamura offer unsentimental beauty, space, silence and humourc Proof that improvised music can be emotionally engaging as well as ear tickling, Fujii and Tamura give us six clouds, all with a solid silver lining.h \ Peter Marsh, BBC

gc [Fujii and Tamurafs] duets often sound like the work of one remarkable brain trust..." \ K. Leander Williams, Time Out NY

gcsounds that elevate, startle and thrill.h \ Jerry DfSouza, All About Jazz

gWhooping big jazz music; Yoshidafs huge pounding and ferociously good technique keep the most eoutf bits anchored, and just as it all gets too much, Fujiifs arrangement gland kicks in, the band stops dead and the lightfs let in.h \ J. Colon, Straight No Chaser

gPlayful, challenging, virile and surprisingly lyrical for such outside abstractions, this studio session announces a courageous, accomplished new voice in modern jazz.h      \ Joseph Blake, Vancouver Times Columnist

gVulcan expresses the zeitgeist of an as yet unhatched, extraordinary era.h     \ Michael J. Williams, The American Reporter

"[Toward, TO WEST] lifts her onto a creative pinnacle in modern music... She is Cecil Taylor, but with the common sense to come in out of the rain, and bring her listeners with her." \ Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

"Fujii's music bears the stamp of her uncompromising character and contains a unique, otherworldly element." \ Koji Murai, CD Journal

gThe wife-husband team from Japan was simply brilliantc Though their work has a fair amount of compositional structure, it consistently reveals a wide-open and unpredictable nature that makes its performance a thrilling ride for the listenerch \ Steve Feeney, Portland Press Herald

"Many tracks allow for 'conversational' interactions among the horns...keep[ing] the listener off balance with their surprising twists and turnsc 'Sola' gives this quirky CD a memorable closing with a graceful, ascending melody and gradual power surge reminiscent of Carla Bley's orchestra...Jo should also awaken interest in Fujii's piano-focused CDs." \ Jon Andrews, Down Beat

"Fujii manages to juggle the daunting task of juxtaposing traditional Japanese melodies with modern, creative improvisation and she does it all with a warrior-like bravada." \ Fred Jung, Jazz Weekly

g...By the time Fujii sends an Ivesian brass band marching through a frantic free-bop workout on eFreeze,f itfs easy to be convinced that these people are capable of anything.  For those of you on the lookout for a state-of-the-art, end-of-the-millennium big band, it has arrived.h \ Michael Davis, Option

gThink Cecil Taylor meets Rage Against the Machine.h \ Seth Rogovoy, The Berkshire Eagle

gMultiple rhythms and free counterpoint are the name of the game here; think Sun Ra Arkestra meets Either/Orchestra with dashes of Stravinsky and Sousa for good measure.h \ Pete Gershon, Soundboard

"A virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a band-leader who gets the best collaborators to deliver."
\ John Fordham, The Guardian

"Music that stretches out, pulls at your heart strings, and slaps you in the face.  Listen carefully (to Something About Water) and you can hear blues, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Keith Jarrett.  These musicians play on the inside and the outside of the piano and inside and outside the harmonic stream... three solo pieces by Fujii are quite beautiful." \ Dennis Thurmond, Piano & Keyboard

Satoko Fujiifs CDs have consistently been voted to year-end Top 10 lists in publications including Jazziz, Coda, Playboy Japan, Cadence, Swing Journal, Music Magazine, Philadelphia City Paper, CD Journal, American Reporter, All About Jazz, Orange County Register, Village Voice and Jazz Weekly among many others.                           


10/10/10

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