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SATOKO FUJII

IN THE NEWS

SATOKO FUJII: Live in Concert


One of the Best Performances of the Year! \ David R. Adler, All About Jazz New York

gThey were in marvelous form. Their command of dynamics is what sets them apart.  Often working small shifts on a simple motif, or playing quickfire unison openings, they captivate in such immediately appealing ways that it is a while before one is aware of the prodigious technique which both command. (Ifve long thought Tamura one of the very finest contemporary trumpeters, while Fujii is clearly one of the leading composers and musical thinkerscAs a duo here, though they are not without a humorous side, they produced some of the most purely, if occasionally severely, beautiful music that Ifve heard in years.h \ Stephen Middleton, London Jazz

gIn the end, the Satoko Fujii Four was a highlight of the Guelph Festival. They displayed formidable chops in the service of material that had edge-of-the-seat tension built into it and drove with relentless energy.h Ê\ Mike Chamberlain, DownBeat

gFujiifs orchestra was almost completely drawn from the ranks of NYC band leaders, each musician bringing much more to the group than some faceless, nameless big band gun. And so Fujiifs arrangements allowed these often disparate voices to separate themselves from the crowd, usually giving long solo and duo segments to the likes of Ellery Eskelin, Herb Robertson, Steven Bernstein, and Joe Fiedler. For just over an hourc the feel oozed from 40fs ballroom to James Bond-esque themes to marching fanfares to horror flick soundtracks to polka to Globe Unity Orchestra maelstromsc Oddly democratic for such a group, Fujii and her cast of luminaries werenft the stars, rather the resultant music was.h \ Andrey Henkin, All About Jazz New York

gFujii's writing, sweaty and mischievous, was undoubtedly the best thing about this year's Rovatech
 \ Tom Dill, Signal To Noise on Fujii's compositions for Rova Saxophone Quartet's 25th anniversary celebration

gThe duo of Satoko Fujii and Tatsuya Yoshida was highly anticipated by many, and they didnft disappointc Fujii has great ears and knew just how to steer the powerful Yoshidac Altogether, the two seemed to be having a great deal of fun \ the encore was a three-minute version of eGirl from Ipanemaf!h \ Mike Chamberlain, Signal To Noise

gJapanese pianist Satoko Fujii is building up a fan-base in this country for her very original brand of multi-cultural jazz and free improvisation. The pianistfs compositional talents certainly match her improvisational ones, and the selection here was totally compellingc Satoko Fujii calls the quartet her grock band.h But though it may be loud, if not by rock standards, it evokes the mastery of improvisational virtues which its leader has always shown, and constitutes one of her most fascinating ventures to date.h \ Andy Hamilton, Jazz Review (UK)

gThe Vulcan band, which includes her trumpet-playing husband Natsuki Tamura, is avant-garde jazz with a rock sensibilityc the proportion and grandeur one knows in symphonic music.h \ Russell Arthur Roberts, LA Jazz Scene

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


SATOKO FUJII: Live in Concert            - 2 -

gA very absorbing eveningfs improv from this Japanese duoc impressively resourceful, eclectic music.h
\ Jon Turney, Jazz in Bristol.com
 
gThis remarkable quartet held great promise on paper but the level to which they surpassed expectations is pondered even today. A remarkable flurry of intense rhythms and cataclysmic piano that gelled together wondrously, this set may well go down as the greatest in Guelph Jazz Festival history.h \ ECHO

 gLast May, Fujii and Tamura visited the Bay Area to meet with Rova about the upcoming Rovate collaboration and to perform in their first SFAlt Festival. During their duo set, the pianist and trumpeter explored a stunning variety of individual instrumental timbres and attacks and interwoven textures and moods.  Stylistically spanning a spectrum of musical history that includes trumpeters Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Lester Bowie, and Toshinori Kondo and pianists Bill Evans, Jaki Byard, Herbie Hancock, Muhal Richard Abrams, and Matthew Shipp.h \ Derk Richardson, San Francisco Bay Guardian

gThis concert was [Fujii and Tamurafs] first in Scotland and drew firmly on free improvisation. They performed as a dup before linking up with three home-based musicians in the second halfc The pianist oscillated between percussive runs and flowing passages, often revealing a distinctly classical technique. Tamura responded with an equally wide-ranging vocabulary on trumpetcThe musicians made great play of the expanded sound possibilities available within the larger group in a sequence of contrasting improvisations that drew on both the sonic and the visual traditions of the international free music community.h \ Kenny Matheson, The Scotsman

gThis was Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamurafs first visit to Scotland, and while the two sets they played focused largely on the free improvisation side of their music, their duo set particularly hinted at wider areas of interest such as classical music and big-band jazz disciplinec They openedc with a lengthy, conversational duet in which both musicians made very effective use of their respective sound palettes.h
\ Rob Adams, The Herald (Glasgow)

gThe wife-husband team from Japan was simply brilliantc 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 listenerch \ Steve Feeney, Portland Press Herald

gStrong glitter of crystal-clear ice and weathercock-like unpredictable performance are its specialtiesc after the gig I reported what I had just experienced to a friend of mine on the payphone in the station for two hours and missed the last train.h \ Takayuki Mihoshi, Jazz Critique

gThe sheer force and raw power that was summoned at an instant was ear bogglingc Her sense of history and respect for the past, in addition to her bright eye towards the future is something to behold both on record and, especially, livec the night eventually came to an end to a solid and immediate standing ovation. Donft miss Fujii next time she comes around.h \ Laurence Donohue-Greene, All About Jazz – New York

gShe knocked the audience down by creating the sonic world where dissonant chords and unexpected happenings were interwoven.h \ OCS news

gExpect the unexpected from the highly experimental, classically inspired quartet (Satoko Fujii Four). Their songs, which sometimes reach over 20 minutes, often shift directions, taking inspiration from post-bop jazz techniques and styles, classical music and other sourcesc It is advisable to approach this band with an open mind, and be ready to be surprised by their astounding, complex sound.h \ Ernest Barteldes, New York Press

gFujiifs piano echoes different musical influences that are beyond the strict jazz and are intriguingc along with Tamurafs spirited recent activity, we have to pay more attention to this couple.h \ Masahiko Yuh, Asahi Newspaper
 
SATOKO FUJII: Live in Concert            - 3 -
                    
 
gSatoko Fujiifs quartet worked from more of a composerly base. The keyboardistfs contrapuntal styling was seconded by the understated inventiveness of percussionist Jim Black and thick col legno swoops and windmill motions of bassist Mark Dresser, so the energy level built throughout When Fujii reached inside the piano to liberate quivering pulsations, the drummer sawed on his cymbals for saxophone-like squealsc Natsuki Tamura spun out muted staccato lines, reminiscent of 1970s Miles Davis.h \ Ken Waxman, Coda

gAmerican audiences are in for a treat.  Not only has Fujiic released a freely improvisational and impressionistic CD called eClouds,f but also they are touring the United Statesc Fujii never ceases to surprise audiences with her inexhaustible curiosity and her constantly shifting results.h \ Don Williamson, JazzReview.com

 gcthe pianist reveled in crashing her crystalline fragments against the drummerfs blunt-edged rumble.  Fujii steered things throughout, playing to Yoshidafs strengths and shaping the improvisations through forceful phrasing, broad strokes of melodic themes, and jagged, metric textures.  The set was infused with a sense of wit, including free-warbled vocal interchanges using invented language, a feature for Yoshidafs amplified coat zipper, and even a thrash deconstruction of gGirl from Ipanemah for an encore.h \ Michael Rosenstein, Cadence

gThe wildness and energy of Fujii's trio made for an awesome listening experience." \ Hiroki Sugita, Swing Journal

gPianist Satoko Fujii's quartet from Japan presented a strangely 'raw' improvised setc Quite absorbing, an original personality to be sure, who's likely to evolve into a major voice.h \ Francesco Martinelli, Coda

gMusicians often say that Fujiifs pieces are difficult to play, but they actually lead to the open spaces that will draw wildness from the players and accept them... Fujii takes control of the spaces with her compositional talent and rich imagination.h \ Kazue Yokoi, Jazz Critique

 gcthese musicians can bring anything to the climax, interacting flexibly with each other no matter how their performances or sounds may change.  Their spiritual spontaneity frees listenersf mindsc especially pleasant is the smooth transition into the ending where four individual stories are converged by creating multi-layered sound.h \ Masahiko Yuh, Asahi Newspaper


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