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SATOKO FUJII ORCHESTRA NAGOYA


Sanrei (2008)


 g**** (4 stars). There is much dialogue among the sections, creating an anthemic and occasionally surreal feel. They blend vocabulary that one might associate with the 70fs and 80fs units of Gil Evans and Sun Ra with logic structures reminiscent of the orchestral playbooks of Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams to realize Fujiifs fresh imperatives.h \ Ted Panken, DownBeat

gSanrei is unique amongst contemporary big band recordings in that its edgy, manic, streetwise energy is more about punk-rock or alternative-rock than it is a reflection of pioneering 60fs and 70fs avant-jazz big bandsc It is a bracing, high-intensity musical journey through the imaginations of some of Japanfs most exciting and interesting musicians and composersc I totally enjoyed Sanrei from beginning to end. Fujii and her colleagues prove once again that the creative possibilities in a jazz ensemble of any given size are limitless.h
 ⎯ Dave Wayne, Jazz Review

gThis music seems a bit more experimental than the material for the New York ensemble, but therefs also more of a groove.h \ Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant

gThis is the zest of orchestra music with its grand sound that expands in all directions, played by 16 musicians.h ⎯ CD Journal

gSatoko Fujii has a rock and roll soul and heart, judging from the opening cut on Sanrei, by her Orchestra Nagoya. As with virtually all of her recordings, the music on Sanrei is an expect-the-unexpected affair, with rock riffs and brassy big band harmonies, aural riots of fist fighting horns and histrionic group scatting that sounds like some sort of manic mass religious ecstasyc an excellent, high-spirited, rambunctious addition to her huge discography.h  ⎯ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

gThere is no doubt that out of the four big bands the Japanese composer and pianist Satoko Fujii leads, Orchestra Nagoya is the wildest one. It may feel like being hit by a huge adrenalin shot while listening to Sanrei, the orchestrafs third release; but rest assured this powerful demonstration does not lack detailed and precise arrangementsc Sanrei is impressive in its power, intensity, inventiveness and overall fun-loving spirit.h
 ⎯ Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz

gSatoko Fujii gets directly in touch with her inner rock fn roller when she unleashes Orchestra Nagoya. Huge blocks of sound coalesce around the rhythm section for the powerful 15-piece groupc They play the hell out of the Fujiifs malleable and expandable charts and have a great time doing it. Itfs a great disc and heartily recommended.h \ Stuart Kremsky, IAJRC Journal

gItfs always kind of fun (and funny!) to be completely surprised by somethingc Really great stuff.h  \ Mark Saleski, Jazz.com


 gSatoko Fujiifs Sanrei might smell like teen spirit, but it isnft a rock power trio disc; itfs an orchestra sent from nirvana by way of Nagoya, Japan. Solos are sinewy and athletic, led by trumpeter Tamura and stellar tenor saxophonist Yoshihiro Hanawa. Such fun and gymnastics, every big band should try. This is a jazz orchestra that can rock, or maybe a rock orchestra that can swing.h  ⎯ Mark Corroto, All About Jazz

gCertainly to the left of fusion and jazz rock, this is an unabashed crew that is more than happy to blast your ears open and let the wax fall where it mayc This is a set that turns it to 11, and then gets started.h
⎯ Chris Spector, Midwest Record

gThis disc took a bit of getting used to but in the end, there are enough great moments of unexpected surprises to make it another welcome addition to the vast Satoko Fujii catalogue of jewels.h \ Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

 gBut this one (Sanrei) is one of my favorites – the best word to describe it is volcanicc A wonderful menagerie of compositions that is enjoyable enough to rate is MOST HIGHLY RECCOMENDED for jazz fans who want something new & exciting to listen to.h  ⎯  Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

gThe explosive passages are new territory, even for Fujii, who is one of the worldfs most eclectic contemporary free jazz performersc This music is not for the faint of heart.h  ⎯ D. Oscar Groomes, Ofs Place


Maru (2006)


Honorable Mention \ Tom Hull, Jazz Consumer Guide, The Village Voice
2006: My Best 5 CDs \ Masahiko Yuh, CD Journal

gSatoko Fujiifs four new big-band albums are overwhelming: In such vast universes, anything can happen, everything doesch \ Tom Hull, The Village Voice
 
gSatoko Fujii is a marvelous Japanese pianist and composerc shefs been busy. This woman writes big band charts that are full of big crashing texturesc some are on the more avant-garde side, but this one has a rock energyc the thick, dark ensemble writing (and playing) reflects the edgier, scruffier nature of the musical scene in Nagoya (whose relationship with Tokyo suggests that of Chicago to New York). It all makes Maru, their second disc, the liveliest and most accessible of these albums. One of the best albums of 2006.h
\ Neil Tesser, Listen Here!

gSatoko Fujii is a wondrous Japanese cutting-edge jazz pianist, but Maru features her talents as composer and conductor, with a 15-piece band as her palette. Itfs brilliant, volatile, unpredictable stuff. This set has spectacular melodies, rich orchestral textures recalling Gil Evans and George Russell, and some searing, rock-edged guitar synthesizing aspects of Hendrix and Zappa.h \ Mark Keresman, Primetime

gThe writing from trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and guitar ace Yashuhiro Usui as well as Fujii, is first rate.h
\ Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

gTherefs a raft of jazz CDs streeting September 12, but by far the most noteworthy launch is free-spirited Satoko Fujiifs 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 Kobech \ Dan Ouellette, Billboard

 gThe arrangements are very tight, and the integration of the horns is very effective, so you get the volume you expect plus nimbleness.h \ Tom Hull, On the Web
gUnder Fujiifs leadership, the soloists get free with an expressive collection of adventures. Theyfre all-stars, too; several of the groupfs members show a superb grasp of the deep feeling thatfs required to express the passion of her music. Unlike her other musical organizations, this one revels in partnership with rock music and its impact on the sensesc Remember when organizations led by Maynard Ferguson and Don Ellis brought rock themes to the big band jazz arena? Fujii revives that concept here successfully with fireworks from an exceptional body of talented artists.h \ Jim Santella, All About Jazz

gcthe musicians throw in some truly imaginative solos. This orchestra has one particularity setting it aside: the addition of electric guitar (Yasuhiro Usui) to Fujiifs standard 14-piece line up.h \ Francois Couture, All Music Guide

 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

Nagoya Orchestra Nagoyanian (2004)


gIndividual characters of musicians are clearly displayed in the very unique entire sound.  This is what Fujiifs music is.  The ensemble sounds wilder than usual and creates thrilling excitement.  Solos are heating up and satisfactory enough for the listeners.h \ Yukinori Omura, Record Collectors

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