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gSuch constant variety, embracing scalding trumpet-piano interaction, an extraordinary range of bowed and plucked bass sounds, all propelled and embellished by hair trigger sensitive yet robust drumming is rare enough, but what was particularly impressive about the Ma-Do Quartetfs music was the apparent ease and naturalness with which all these sounds and approaches were incorporated into a single artistic vision.h \ Chris Parker, The Vortex

gcma-dofs music is magnificent. Sometimes Fujiifs melody shows Japanese taste with a traditional touch. Her way also accepts the playersf own taste and draws out the music from them as well.h \ Yoh Nakagawa, Mainichi Newspaper

gcma-do focuses their aggressive energy without free jazz clichés. Fujiifs complex compositions found a perfect and ideal articulation of her vision. They played without any MC between the pieces and the audience was amazed.h \ Yoshiyuki Kitazato, omba

gHer avant-garde jazz compositions are eloquent and cerebral yet tough-minded.h \ The Philadelphia Inquirer

gItfs hard to keep up with an artist who cranks out nearly half-dozen records a year, but itfs worth tryingc Fujiifs new Japanese acoustic quartet, ma-do, arrives in Philly on the heels of Heat Wave, which careens from gripping aural onslaughts to textural abstraction and lyrical calm.h \ David R. Adler, Philadelphia Weekly

gKeeping up with Satoko Fujii is a full time job. The Japanese jazz pianist creates new bands like other musicians change their sheets. Every week it seems like shefs assembled a creatively charged new combo with a body of original music custom fit for the personnel.h \ Andrew Gilbert, San Diego Union-Tribune

gIn our hunger to hear something new, we came to hear Satoko Fujii and her ma-do groupc You could say the five tunes played out like impressionistic jazz-oriented chamber pieces filled with extended technique solosc  A true moment of peace was reached in the last piece, To the Skies.h \ David Fujino, The Live Music Report

gIt was apparent, even during the sound check, that the group can boil with an uncommon fire and energy – combined with stunning virtuosity – that most groups can only dream aboutc When things shift into the high octane mode – this happens on every tune – she sits and goes after the keyboard as if soaring in out of another dimension, with an expression of concentration as unalloyed, as intense, as any youfll see on the face of a human being. In a live setting, the unconventional yet always engrossing music of the CD comes truly alive. An absolutely riveting performance at Dizzyfs in San Diego.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gIf therefs a more prolific jazz musician on the planet, I donft think I want to knowc her ma do, a Japanese quartet, is bound for Philly. h\ David Adler, Leterland

gThe quartetfs modus operandi was to present brief initial and final statements of gorgeous melodies along with extended prickly centers filled with quicksilver flux and pointed daggers. The leader got everything she could draw from her instrument.h \ Ken Weiss, Cadence

Time Stands Still

All About Jazz – Dan McClenaghanfs Best Releases of 2013
All About Jazz – John Sharpefs Best Releases of 2013

g4 STARScBased on the quality of the material and of the delivery, the album can be viewed as the groupfs crowning achievement, for it shows some tremendous growth since their debut six years ago. The compositions take full advantage of the unique chemistry the quartetchas developed over the years. Beautiful and exuberant songs are pitted against probing and impressionistic improvisations whereas frequent tempo and theme changes threaten to bring the bandfs search for an elusive balance to an end.h \ Alain Drouot, DownBeat

gTherefs nobody making music like FujiicSatoko Fujii Ma-Do was a magnificent band, with perhaps the most cohesive interplay of all of the pianistfs groups. With the passing of Norikatsu Koreyasu it will be no more, and thatfs a crying shame, but Time Stands Still stands as one of Satoko Fujiifs strongest and most riveting recordings to date.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gTime Stands Still is bittersweet to hear. On the one hand, itfs tremendous. On the other hand, there will be no more like it. And given where the band was headed, itfs a shame that we will never know what ma-dofs follow-up would have sounded likecotherworldly.h \ John Garratt, PopMatters

 gThe band deals in complex compositions with multiple sections, tempo changes and dense interplay, all delivered with energy and verve belying its complexity.h \ Robert Iannapollo, The New York City Jazz Record

 gSatoko Fujii can look back to these four years in which the group was together and have no regrets, except perhaps that as good of a run as they had, there was a sense that their best days were still ahead of them. As fate would have it, ma-do called it a day at the highest point of their artistic achievement.h \ S. Victor Aaron, Something Else! Reviews

 gcferocious ensemble playingcTime Stands Still is a very sad haunting and touching conclusion to not only this album but also to the recording career of this fine quartet.h \ Steve H., Bebop Spoken Here

 gMs. Fujii has a way of bringing out the best in her bandmates by writing pieces which push them into challenging waters where they will either sink or swim upstreamcTime Stands Still is an extraordinary CD that shouldnft be taken for granted as it doesnft get any better than this.h \ Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

gTime Stands Still is both more stately and more powerful than a younger, more combustible ma-do captured on the (excellent nonetheless) 2008 Heat Wave album (Libra)cThis is an exceptional group, and Time Stands Still is an exceptional album. Koreyasu couldnft wish for a better testament.h \ Tim Owen, Dalston Sound

 gIf her ma-do quartet were to have a culinary equivalent it would certainly be tasty: something spicy with rich complex flavors. Itfs almost as if Fujii has so many ideas that she has to force as many as possible into every composition. Each cut screeches into handbrake turns of clashing incongruity which the band somehow make sound unforced and natural.h \ John Sharpe, All About Jazz 

 gWith an abandon that would make young Carla Bley blush, Fujii and crew ride this escalator way over the hill and off into never, never land.h \ Chris Spector, Midwest Record

 gThe flavor and scope of this album is as poetic as the reality of lifefs fleeting beauty. Listeners are gently, yet purposefully pulled through various states of beingcThe group manages to be sparse and dense simultaneously, much like a fine haikucEach track has its own unique and personal flavor, a testament to the high level of musicianship offered to us here.h \ Monique Avakian, The Free Jazz Collective

gcintricate and intriguing compositionscKoreyasufs sublimely mournful bowing creates a somber atmosphere that Fujiifs wistful cascades of notes punctuate, making both the disc and the song an apt elegy for the prematurely deceased bassist.h \ Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz

gTunes like the opener, eFortitude,f will prove beyond the shadow of any doubt that this group was among the very best on the wild side of improvised music\anywhere in the world!h \ Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

 gAlong with Natsuki Tamurafs unclichéd trumpet tone-warping (surprising note choices), drummer Akira Horikoshifs multifarious rhythms/anti-rhythms and Fujiifs own arcanely derived yet decidedly melodic piano work, Koreyasufs novel bass propositions push and pull the quartet into fantastically fertile future-music fields.h \ John Payne, Bluefat

gThe quartetfs unique method of seamlessly fusing rich melodic content with asymmetrical pulses and stewing developments, saddled within the freer realm, triggers a stylistic soundscape. With striking contrasts and deep-rooted dialogues, each piece stands on its own as a distinct entitycThe band performs a balancing act, spanning a surfeit of emotive qualities, executing a myriad of rhythmic surprises but also instilling changeable melodies and energized thematic movements, with several reengineering processes along the way.h \ Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

 gListening to Satoko Fujii ma-do, one is reminded that blocked chunks of themes written on charts can still yield exciting, unexpected results when mixed up just enough and tweaked from within.h \ Dave Madden, The Squidfs Ear

gAnything but Orientalist, except for some taiko-like thumps from Horikoshi and Koreyasufs erhu-like patterning during the appropriately titled eBroken Time,f Fujiifs concepts are closely aligned to bedrock jazz plus inferences from so-called classical music.h \ Ken Waxman, The Whole Note

gLike Tamura, [Koreyasufs] bass work and interplay with the quartet often involves extended technique: scrapy bowing, whispery overtones and glissandos. The two make a double wild card of sorts, whether pairing off or playing against Fujiifs alternately terse and blithely romping lines and Horikoshifs matter-of-factly spacious, frequently suspenseful presence.h \ Alan Young, Lucid Culture

 gFujii continues to be a fascinating and individualistic musician and composer whose work certainly demands attention.h \ David Samspon, A Jazz Listenerfs Thoughts

Desert Ship (2010)

gDesert Ship has a great chance of making my 2010 favorites list.h \ Dan Temmesfeld, Jazzsick.com

 gClassically trained pianist Fujii and her fine trumpeter husband Natsuki Tamura deliver a bravura quartet set brimful with passion and delicate romance.h – Jazz Journal

gPianist Satoko Fujii is both a container and a fluid, and she knows how to shake order and chaos into an elusive, life-encompassing drink.h – Larry Cosentino, Signal to Noise

gPianist Fujii again, this time in a more intimate piano riffy, looser structured quartet setting but one thatfs just as engaging, and as much aligned to a post sixties sense of anarchych – Short Cuts, Jazzwise Magazine

gWith Desert Ship, Satoko Fujii continues to make an impression. She sophisticatedly and simply synthesizes avant-rock, folk, jazz, classical, and experimental music and melts it with her own vibrant style. Always distinctive and always exciting, Fujiifs ma-do offers another excellent opportunity to explore her work.h
– Jordan Richardson, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

gPianist Satoko Fujiifs music on Desert Ship, for the quartet ma-do, sits in a phantasmagorical realm that is located artistically somewhere between composer Gustav Holstfs Planets and film director Stanley Kubrickfs 2001: A Space Odysseyc music of epic proportions.h \ Raul dfGama Rose, All About Jazz

 gIf therefs such a thing as progressive edge with a commercial side, it feels like Fujii has found that sweet spot here.h \ Chris Spector, Midwest Record

gDesert Ship is full of surprises and inventivenessc Satoko Fujiifs wide, wild wonderful world is a pretty neat place to inhabit.h \ Victor Aaron, Something Else!

gFujii (pianist & composer) leads Japanese quartet on original avant leaning jazz pieces which go from lyrical & pastoral passages to full force gale runs. Adventurous, challenging & rewarding music.h \ Eric Leff, WRUV

gThe skyfs the limit, since Fujiifs proven track record and comfort zone shines forth when piloting small ensemble to large scale orchestral undertakings. On this album, she fuses complex rhythmic motifs into largely memorable storylines, underscored with harmonious theme-building endeavorsc. With Tamurafs brash and glowing lines, the band incorporates mesmeric ostinatos and thrusting opuses into the grand schemac. Fujii executes these disciplines with a cunning and stylistic edge, emanating from her extremely broad capabilities and acute vision. This 2010 engagement among other recent releases, highlight her versatility and seemingly boundless artistic propensities.h – Glenn Astarita, Ejazznews

"Satoko Fujii and her Ma-Do quartet start the year off with another of her ambitious and creative treasures."
\ Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

gI love Satoko Fujii. I hold her as one of the great jazz pianists of our times.  Desert Ship, the second album by her acoustic quartet Ma-Do (Fujii, Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, Norikatsu Koreyasu on bass, Akira Horikoshi on drums)c is largely a melodious album, sensitive though quite beat-driven at times. Nice balance between lyricism and rhythmical complexity, the two poles of Fujiifs compositional range.h \ Francois Couture, monsieurdelire, CFLX

 gSatoko Fujii is definitely of the avant-garde school of jazz, but her quartet recordings\and especially the Ma-Do Quartet\are some of her most approachable sounds. Desert Ship is a good introduction to her singular world, and another excellent set for her longtime fans.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gFujii, to my ears at least, is one of todayfs most fascinating pianists. Shefs fearless and refuses to compromise, relentlessly giving in to the pursuit of beauty and suddenness in her arrangements and her playing. While I might stop short of saying that Fujiifs playing reflects a sort of divergence, I think it is safe to say that ma-do indeed builds to its best performances when it tosses out the rulebook and lives in the conflicted spaces.h \ Jordan Richardson, Canadian Audiophile.com

 gA wide-ranging talent whose efforts vary from intimate duos to big bands, Fujii's abilities cannot be encapsulated in one line-up, let alone a single album. Desert Ship offers a wonderful cross-section of her abilities as an improviser and, especially, as a composer.h \ Troy Collins, All About Jazz

 gccharacteristically fascinating, emotionally varied, richly melodic one by her pretty straight-up small combo Ma-Doc. Another triumph for this extraordinary composer.h \ Alan Young, Lucid Culture

 g4 ½-starsc. Satoko Fujii. She and her band are the perfect synthesis of modern music, going beyond jazz, integrating anything from classical over folk and traditional music, with jazz, free improvisation and avant-garde, but then pushing it all over the edge. This enables her to explore composition/improvisation with a musical richness which is given to fewc. The last piece's title, "Vapor Trail" is a good descriptive of the music, which comes as a kind of soothing finale, when catharsis has been reached, a moment of acceptance, of resignation, of awe for the beauty that arises after the violence, the fire has died down, after the sun has set.  Brilliant!h \ Stef Gijssels, Free Jazz

"With Desert Ship, Satoko Fujii continues to make an impression.  She sophisticatedly and simply synthesizes avant-rock, folk, jazz, classical, and experimental music and melts it with her own vibrant style.  Always distinctive and always exciting, Fujii's ma-do offers another excellent opportunity to explore her work." \Blogcritics Music

gOne of the most exciting CDs Ifve listened to this yearcAnother total winner for Satoko and crew, this one gets my MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating of 5.0 (no other band has gotten that this year).h \ Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

Heat Wave (2008)

Best CD of the Year  ⎯  Mariko Okayama, Jazz Tokyo
Best of the Year \ Troy Collins, All About Jazz
Annual Critics Poll \ Ollie Bivins, All About Jazz
Top New Discs \ Clifford Allen, Bagatellen
Another Winner \  Cadence
Staff Pick  ⎯ All About Jazz
Must Have \ Stef, Free Jazz

gFor a small group, ma-do sounds utterly huge, and thatfs a testament not only to Fujiifs writing and technical skill, but also to her cohorts – swirling and unruly at one moment, deft and wiry the next, punchy and rollicking another, their empathy is astounding.h ⎯ Clifford Allen, Bagatellen

gA daring and persuasive pianist-composer with her new Japanese quartet leans towards composition with European art music, avant jazz, folk and rock all in the mix.h  ⎯ Jazzwise

gThe title track opens this extraordinary disc with some majestic piano and trumpet over a sublime free-flowing groove. The powerful rhythm team do a great job of fleshing out Satokofs sprawling, modal-sounding pianoc The disc captures the magic of their amazing set at Guelph: rich and probing in every way. Again, Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura offer one of this yearfs best discs.h  ⎯ Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

gThis is not an ordinary jazzc It is very massive and minute. After 11 years of playing only original music, Fujiifs musical enthusiasm swirls and moves centripetal.h  ⎯  Kazutomi Aoki, CD Journal 

gUnexpected twists and turns, in-your-face and pedal-to-the-metal wailing juxtapose with spare, mystical, pastoral beautyc It is one of Fujiifs finest hours on record.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gHeat Wave is a vibrant recording that allows Fujii to stretch out as a soloist. She does not skimp on the music, giving this band strong material to work with and build off of.h  ⎯ Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant

gIt gets to the point with its metallic speed and wide swing, but the structure is just herself. Tamurafs trumpet sounds shine.h  ⎯ Shiro Matsuo, Music Magazine

gAnother superlative recording from Satoko Fujii, Heat Wave is a perfect introduction to the work of one of todayfs most vital composers.h  ⎯ Troy Collins, All About Jazz

gThough the rhythm section will likely be unfamiliar to all but a few, ma-dofs music is no less intense, fascinating and multi-directional. If you are already a Satoko Fujii fan, you will adore this CD. For the uninitiated, this could be a great place to find onefs way unto Fujiifs distinctive and innovative musicc
Heat Wave is yet another triumph for Fujii, Tamura and, ultimately, for the listener who needs only to witness this spectacle in utter fascination.h  ⎯ Dave Wayne, Jazz Review

gMa-do is not a window you keep passing, it is a window you should open and look out of.h
⎯ Brenton Plourde, Jazz Review

gFujiifs fascinatingly unpredictable and complex pieces are worthy settings for her assertive and robust pianism, both as a soloist and as a deeply engaged accompanist. This is another winning effort, and the consistently high quality of Fujiifs and Tamurafs music is rather amazing considering the sheer volume of their projects.h \ Stuart Kremsky, IAJRC Journal

gcthe songs explore the tension of the spaces between the notes, and yet there are many instances when great dynamic swells, incorporating all the instruments, take center stage.h \ Sam Prestianni, Seattle Weekly

gI continue to be impressed not only with the consistent quality of her music but with Fujiifs ability to generate such varied and interesting results with often similar instrumentationsc Fujii is just so strong a player, never really soloing in a conventional sense so much as giving shape to – and then reshaping – the music around her.h \ Jason Bivins, Cadence

 gNew releases from pianist Satoko Fujii are practically a monthly event: The latest is Heat Wave.h
\ Elzy Kolb, Jazzwomen, Hothouse

gHeat Wave makes a very fine, rather sunny and accessible listen. A good number of these tracks deserve some serious playtime.h \ Francois Couture, All Music Guide

gThe approach is total, not only as a broad synthesis of jazz, but also as a venture into new territory, with lots of extended techniques, pushing the envelope while keeping clear focus and coherence in the playingc Fujii is something else and her music, regardless of the line-up, is not to be missed.h \ Stef, Free Jazz

gThis music has an exquisite liveliness. It literally breathes, changing shape, texture and color continuously while it develops. The excitement created is palpable as the quartet reacts to what is written, with the result being three-dimensional structures of avant-garde classical grace that mutatec Aurally stunning, complex and emotionally involving, Heat Wave is a new high for Fujii. She has created, and continues to extend, her own sound world.h  ⎯ Budd Kopman, All About Jazz

gShe is focused on free space herec This approach bodes well in a session that at times is packed with rage.h
\ D. Oscar Groomes, Ofs Place

Projects Reviews
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Scores and Parts
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Mailing List Past  concerts