Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer SATOKO FUJII as one of the most original voices in jazz today. Shefs ga virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a band-leader who gets the best collaborators to deliver," says John Fordham in The Guardian.
In concert and on more than 80 albums as a leader or co-leader, the
globe-trotting Japanese native synthesizes jazz, contemporary
classical, avant-rock, and Japanese folk music into an innovative music
instantly recognizable as hers alone.
Since she burst onto the scene in 1996, Fujii has led some of the most
consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music. In 2013,
she debuted the Satoko Fujii New Trio featuring bassist Todd Nicholson
and drummer Takashi Itani, the first piano trio she has led since her
trio with Mark Dresser and Jim Black last played together in 2009. The
trio expanded into a quartet called Tobira with the addition of her
husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, in 2014. The all-acoustic Satoko
Fujii ma-do quartet, together from 2007 to 2011, showcased the latest
developments in her composition for small ensembles in an intimate
acoustic setting. Another acoustic quartet, the Min-Yoh Ensemble with
trumpeter Tamura, trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, and accordionist
Andrea Parkins is dedicated to developing written and improvised music
in the collective spirit of Japanese folkloric music. Fujii also led an
electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of
The Ruins from 2001 to 2008.
Fujii has established herself as one of the worldfs leading composers for large jazz ensembles, prompting Cadence magazine to call her gthe Ellington of free jazz.h
Since 1996, she has released a steady stream of acclaimed albums for
jazz orchestras and in 2006 she simultaneously released four big band
albums: one from her New York ensemble, and one each by three different
Japanese bands. In 2013 she debuted the Satoko Fujii Orchestra
Chicago at the Chicago Jazz Festival. In 2015, she released a CD by her
new Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin and worked with orchestras in
Oakland, California and Beilefeld, Germany.
In addition to playing accordion in Tamurafs Gato Libre, Fujii also
performs in a duo with Tamura, as an unaccompanied soloist, with the
international quartet Kaze, and in ad hoc groupings with musicians
working in different genres. Her special projects have included
collaborations with ROVA saxophone quartet, violinist Carla Kihlstedt,
pianist Myra Melford, bassist Joe Fonda, and Junk Box, a collaborative
trio with Tamura and percussionist John Hollenbeck. In recent years she
has worked with dance and music ensembles featuring percussive dancer
Mizuki Wildenhahn. She has also toured and recorded with saxophonist
Larry Ochsf Sax and Drum Core, and appeared on albums by drummer Jimmy
Weinstein, saxophonist Raymond McDonald, and Japanese free jazz legend,
trumpeter Itaru Oki.
With 2016 marking her 20th year in creative music, Fujii performed solo
concerts once a month in cities around the world, her duo with Tamura
performed with special guests, and she presented concerts with her
small and large ensembles, past and present.
gWhether performing with her
orchestra, combo, or playing solo piano, Satoko Fujii points the
listener towards the future of music itself rather than simply
providing entertainment,h writes Junichi Konuma in Asahi Graph.
She tours regularly appearing at festivals and clubs in the U.S.,
Canada, Japan, South America, and Europe. Her ultimate goal: gI would love to make music that no one has heard before.h