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IN THE NEWS

SATOKO FUJII SOLO




Gen Himmel (2013)


gThe Japanese-born Berlin-based pianist performs an elegantly meditative yet probing solo set thatfs her first in nearly a decade.h – Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise Magazine

gStrength, elegance, melodiousness that plays sharp contrasts with the atonal and angular aspects of her playing. Short pieces establising an intimate rapport with the listener without resorting to cheap tricks of seduction.h – Francois Couture, Monsieur Delire

gThe prepared piano of gTake Righth is reminiscent of many a John Cage sonata also, hampering the strings in the lower-mid and upper registers as Fujiifs fingers search for strange ways to say goodbye to old friends.h – John Garratt, Pop Matters

gMay surprise some listeners more familiar with her big bands, quartets and trios, how melodic and introspective the majority of these songs arec Gen Himmel illustrates just how much creativity can be found in the heart and mind of Satoko Fujii.  Her egroupf music is often angular, challenging, tense and one can hear those qualities in this solo music. Yet, there is beauty in these melodies, there is purpose in the rhythms and there are moments of sheer playfulness.h – Richard Kamins, Step Tempest

gThis has none of the thrash I'm so fond of, so it's all the more surprising that this succeeds on its own complex melodic terms. A-h – Tom Hull, Jazz Prospecting

gOne of the best pianists I have ever heard, Satoko just shines on pieces like the beautiful eIn The Duskfc MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.h – Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

gIt has been already proved she has extraordinary powers of concentration and spontaneity.h –Shiro Matsuo

gOn her own, shefs got a graceful and warm touch. Her pieces such as gIn The Duskh have a modern romantic sound to them. Dreamy pieces such as gSummer Solsticeh  can get your mind to wander into other thoughts, a good sign. Well constructed  pieces, still with a tad space for improvising, although each tune actually sounds a bit spontaneous.h – George Harris, Jazz Weekly

gEach piece feels as if it is in the moment or developing from no one source. The pieces still fit together somehow although we can never predict where they will end up. Parts of these pieces are more melodic than most things we've heard from her in the past yet end up where we least expect them to be. It is nice to know that Satoko Fujii still has some surprises up her sleeve.h – Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

gThere are haunting refrains, both jazz-inflected and new music-classical elements, mood moments, prepared piano sequences that evoke at moments the Japanese koto, but none of it references the direct influence of player-composer-improvisers that have preceded herc This one will repay your attention with a wealth of good sounds.h – Greg Edwards, Gapplegate Music

g5-stars. A truly stellar effort shining a new and different perspective on avaunt garde improvisational music. A calm joy with an evocative ebb and flow that is simply captivating.h – Brent Black, Bop-N-Jazz


Sketches (2004)

# 2 on Top 10 CDs of the Year \ Sam Prestianni, Criticfs Choice 2004, Jazziz

gHer best effort to date.h \ D. Oscar Groomes, Ofs Place Jazz Newsletter

gThere are various types of songs but all these performances are filled with sounds that only Satoko Fujii is able to createc best solo album in recent years.h\ Fumiaki Fujimoto, Swing Journal

 gThe pieces range from lyrical, watercolor-like reveries to atonal cluster bombs that make it clear that (a) the piano is indeed a percussion instrument, and (b) Fujii does not live in an apartment building.h \ Bob Genovesi, Body & Soul

gYou will experience an aesthetic atonal style of piano, a boogie-woogie type of striking with the fist and then a hysterical performance... she can metamorphose her piano into anything and she never fails to lure the listeners into her bewitching forbidden world with well-planned manner.  Itfs very dangerous.h \ Tatsuya Nagato, Jazz Life

gceleven astoundingly propulsive, cohesive, hard-edged, lyrical tracks were completely recorded in two hours without stopping the tape. How else could one account for these works that defy a jazz genre, eclipsing standard forms and ways of treating the piano, yet massive in their perfectly-formed architecture, with every note pulling and pushing inescapably toward the next? ...  If you have the time, listen to this CD in one go: connections between tracks, sometimes consecutively, sometimes not, only add to this masterfully crafted album.h \ Yotam Haber, New Music Box

gOn her first solo record in eight years, Satoko Fujii gives free rein to her impulses . . . Her approaches are many and she constructs each piece with careful articulation.h \ Jerry DfSouza, All About Jazz 

gMs. Fujiifs first solo recording since Indicationc [she] has a virtuosic touch, balancing carefully placed notes and their decay with ringing clusters. She also shades her playing with scraped and plucked strings and percussive punctuationc There is a romantic elegance to her playing not fully reflected in her quartetc one hopes she doesnft let it go so long before her next solo session.  \ Michael Rosenstein, Cadence

 gSketches catches Fujii in a more meditative setting, drawing as much on her classical roots as it does on her spirit of free improvisationc An iconoclastic, adventurous, captivating artist.h \ Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz 

gSketches, a moody, dramatically unfurling adventure in post-modern piano improvisation.h \ Martin Wisckol, The Orange County Register

gAt times, youfd swear shefs playing a long-lost Debussy composition; at other times, itfs nimble kitten-on-the-keys playfulness; there are even moments where the blues creep in, bookending blue phrases with startling clusters of notesc I donft generally enjoy solo piano music, but this one keeps my attention from start to finish.h \ Jon Davis, Exposé

gRecorded in just two hours, these 11 improvisations bear remarkable testimony to Fujiifs technique and imagination.h \ Duncan Heining, Jazzwise

gShe has created a set that is impressionistic and suggestive, sometimes playful and at other times almost overwhelming in its intensityc It is a deeply engrossing and rewarding music.h \ Paul Donnelly, ejazznews

gc definite classical influences (primarily impressionistic) are offset by occasional timbral explorations within the instrument, not to forget the equally striking contrasts between far-Eastern modalism and some blues-drenched harmonies or passing neo-Tayloresque outburstsc this album enables her to explore the sheer sonic beauty of the grand piano.h \ Marc Chénard, Coda

gAt times drifting through the celestial ether, and at times roaring dramatically through the intense fires below, Satoko Fujii lets her ideas flow freely and spontaneously in real time. . . . the pianist has given us a world of free-flowing ideas and has connected them naturally through her intuitive use of the universal language.h \ Jim Santella, All About Jazz 


Indication (1996)

Top 10 CDs  of 2005 \ Michael Rosenstein

gIndication affords the listener ample opportunity to hear Fujii's minimalist style, her use of space and silence... Fujii's intros are stately and her approach frequently meditative, as on 'Come Spring' and 'Vague.' She can also startle, though, with sudden, unpredictable changes, as on the tune '210.' 'Tsuki no sabaku' is full of a suspense one associates with movie soundtracks.h \ Marcela Breton, JazzTimes

gMost vivid is the totality of her musicianship; Fujii utilizes the whole of the means at her disposal... Her tempos ebb and flow as naturally as drawing a breath... It's particularly encouraging to hear a pianist of her generation who is possessed of such a mature concept of space. Fujii is already an excellent player. This is a most artfully done endeavor.h \ Chris Kelsey, Cadence

gHer soul comes shining through... This CD will stay in my collection for the long haul... This is some of the most gifted and expressive solo piano I've heard in many years... Most Highly Recommended.h \ Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

gThe pieces move from hushed, meditative musings full of space to hammered torrential flurries; from consonant modalities to atonal clusters. This early on in her career, there are strong shades of her teacher Paul Bley and her classical training is in evidence. But one can easily hear the germination of her omnivorous approach to improvisation.h \ Michael Rosenstein, Cadence

gMarked by contrasting sound and silence in her play, quite dramatic and full of surprises.h \ Jack Burke, Waxworks

gI was knocked out by this brilliant collection of solo piano pieces. Indication evoked memories of my enthusiastic reaction to Keith Jarrett's 'Facing You' in the early 1970s... Fujii's output here is very much in that - lineage, as well as her obvious inculcation in classical music... startling power.h \ Michael J. Williams, American Reporter

gShe dissects Japanese traditional music with her clear and powerful piano sound, as if saying good-bye to Japan. Her original tunes are extremely creative...her music amuses us, too.h \ Koichiro Tanaka, Jazz Life




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