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IN THE NEWS

SATOKO FUJII ORCHESTRA KOBE


Kobe Yee!! (2006)


Top Tens of 2006 \ Daryl Angier, Coda
2006 Best CD \ Masahiko Yuh, Jazz Tokyo

gTherefs a raft of jazz CDs streeting September 12, but by far the most noteworthy launch is free-spirited Satoko Fujiifs unprecedented delivery of four orchestral CDs: Undulation (on NatSat) with Orchestra New York; Live!! (Libra) with Orchestra Tokyo; Maru (Bakamo) with Orchestra Nagoya; and Kobe Yee!! (Crab Apple) with Orchestra Kobech \ Dan Ouellette, Billboard

g4 of a Kind: The Big Explosion of Satoko Fujii.  With 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 Chénard, Coda

gSatoko Fujiifs four new big-band albums are overwhelming: In such vast universes, anything can happen, everything doesch \ Tom Hull, The Village Voice

gFujii founded the youngest of her bands in 2001 in Kobe, at the invitation of the Big Apple nightclub, where they perform fairly regularly and where they recorded the impressive Kobe Yee!! Much of their music has an extra power, a sense of deepened purpose, which may reflect the strengths of the personnel: certainly, Fujii has by now demonstrated her ability to tailor the music to the players on hand. But it may also reflect her continuing maturation as a writer, simply using the newest of her ensembles to present her newest musical ideas.h \ Neil Tesser, Listen Here!

gIn a big band setting, Fujiifs sound can have the feeling of a back alley brawl: contentious reeds squabbling with brash brass sections in front of pugnacious rhythms, interspersed with her succinctly gout thereh piano interludes. All of that rumbles out of the speakers on Kobe Yee!!... Fujii is a consummate artist; shefs never careful in her offerings; the musicians she chooses arenft careful; they – and she – lay it all out there, no holds barred.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gcCompositionally exacting – the title trackfs Carla Bley-like theme is a joy and the closer Sola both ambitious and successful through its various movements – it adds a dimension of raw power to sound technique. Bold music.h
\ Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

gFujii is a singular composer and is one of the most innovative bandleaders with standing ensembles around. Like Ellington, for the most part, Fujii writes specifically for the players in the groups, but her compositional voice is her ownc She is also a seemingly tireless innovator, finding new approaches with each recording, and here the twists lie not in the bending of tradition but the embrace of itc And with such remarkable performers, the recordings are a joy.h \ Kurt Gottschalk, All About Jazz

gFujii here favors a very rich brass section (along with the additional bottom-end of a tuba) and punchy reeds to summon all the nuances and delineate all the myriad features of her multi-part compositionsc Fujiifs energy and focus has always been impressive, and this is yet another fine disk from her.h \ Jason Bivins, Cadence

gThere are some fine moments on Kobe Yee!! including a livelier reading of Fire, Tobifudofs ever cartoonish Batman-esque head and the welcomed return of Sola.h \ Francois Couture, All Music Guide

gThis fifteen-piece band interprets Fujiifs music with a fierce attitude, as each selection comes laden with the forces of collective powerc Her leadership, piano, and compositions give this band clear sailing for this highly recommended performance.h \ Jim Santella, All About Jazz

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