(Bio initiated by Rocco Stilo) |
Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii debuted with
Something About Water
piano duets with Paul Bley. She recorded the solo piano albums Indication (may 1996) and Sketches
(august 2003), and several
in trios with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim
Black (Looking Out The Window, recorded in april 1997, and Bell The Cat!, recorded in september 2001); in duos, with violinist Mark Feldman in April Shower, recorded in july/december 1999, and Myra Melford (the piano duo Under The Wate
(recorded in september 2007).
Cities (april 2005) featured Raymond MacDonald on alto & soprano saxes, Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, Neil Davidson on electric guitar, and Tom Bancroft on drums.
Later she formed Kaze with trumpetists Christian Pruvost and Natsuki Tamura and drummer Peter Orins, that released a live concert, Rafale (november 2010),
and Tornado (october 2012), containing
the 20-minute Triangle.
Gen Himmel (september 2012) is a solo piano collection.
Ma-do, formed in 2008 with
Tamura and the rhythm section of Norikatsu Koreyasu (bass) and Akira Horikoshi
(drums), released three albums: Heat Wave (april 2008), Desert Ship (july 2009) and Time Stands Still
(june 2011). The bassist died after this last recording.
Satoko Fujii alternated her soloist career with
four great orchestras that take their names
from their city: Tokyo (four albums), Nagoya (three
and above all New York.
The latter is documented on:
South Wind (june 1997), containing the four-movement suite The Seasons performed with Oscar Noriega (alto sax, bass clarinet), Briggan Krauss (alto sax, clarinet), Tony Malaby (tenor sax, soprano sax), David Castiglione (tenor sax, soprano sax, bamboo flute), Andy Laster (bariton sax, clarinet) Natsuki Tamura, Herb Robertson, Steven Bernstein, Dave Ballou (trumpet) Curtis Hasselbring, Joey Sellers, Joe Fiedler (trombone) Yuko Yamaoka, Satoko Fujii (piano) Stomu Takeishi (bass) and Aaron Alexander (drums);
Jo (may 1998), with
five saxophonists (Krauss, Mike Sim, Noriega, Chris Speed, Castiglione),
three trombonists (Hasselbring, Fiedler and Sellers) and
four trumpeters (Tamura, Ballou, Jack Walrath and John Carlson);
the double album Double Take (november 1999), consisting of a live album (with an all-Japanese line-up and a 14-minute version of her Sola) and a studio album (with the more or less usual line-up), each providing a version of the four-movement suite Ruin (the studio one including a turntablist);
The Future of the Past (september 2001), containing the 25-minute The Future Of The Past/ Straw Dance and the 17-minute Pakonya;
Blueprint (that combines sessions from september 2001 and july 2003);
Undulation (september 2005), with
five saxophonists (Krauss, Noriega, Laster, Eskelin and Tony Barba),
three trombonists (Brian Allen, Hasselbring, Fiedler) and
four trumpeters (Ballou, Robertson, Tamura, Bernstein);
Summer Suite (september 2007),
containing the 39-minute Summer Suite and performed by
five saxophonists (Noriega, Krauss, Eskelin, Malaby and Laster),
four trumpeters (Tamura, Robertson, Bernstein and Ballou),
three trombonists (Hasselbring, Sellers, Fiedler), piano, bass and drums;
Eto (october 2010), containing the 14-movement Eto Suite
altoists Briggan Krauss and Oscar Noriega,
tenorists Chris Speed and Ellery Eskelin,
baritone saxophonist Andy Laster,
bassist Stomu Takeishi,
drummer Aaron Alexander,
trombonists Curtis Hasselbring, Joe Fiedler and Joey Sellers, and
trumpeters Dave Ballou, Frank London, Herb Robertson and Natsuki Tamura;
Shiki (january 2013),
containing the 36-minute suite Shiki and featuring
the core ensemble of Stomu Takeishi (bass), Oscar Noriega
(bass clarinet and alto sax), Aaron Alexander (drums) and Tony
Malaby (soprano and tenor saxes) with the addition of the trombone trio of
Curtis Hasselbring, Joe Fiedler, and Joey Sellers, plus Ellery
Eskelin (tenor sax), Briggan Krauss (alto sax), Andy Laster
(baritone sax), Natsuki Tamura Herb Robertson, Steven Bernstein and
Dave Ballou (a trumpet quartet!).
Kobe debuted with Kobe Yee!! (march 2006), that contains versions of
The Future Of The Past and especially Sola (17:26).
KAZE returned with Uminari (december 2014), that contains the 21-minute Inspiration.
Her 13-piece orchestra Berlin debuted with Ichigo Ichie (january 2014).
Accompanying her were:
Matthias Schubert and Gebhard Ullmann on tenor sax,
Paulina Owczarek on baritone sax,
Natsuki Tamura, Richard Koch and Nikolaus Neuser on trumpet,
Matthias Mueller on trombone,
Kazuhisa Uchihashi on guitar,
Jan Roder on bass,
Michael Griener and Peter Orins on drums.
The Satoko Fujii New Trio, with Todd Nicholson on bass and Takashi Itani on drums, recorded Spring Storm (march 2013).
Tobira, with Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, Todd Nicholson on bass and Takashi Itani on drums, debuted on Yamiyo Ni Karasu (june 2014).
Duet (november 2015) documents a trio with Joe Fonda (contrabass and flute) and Natsuki Tamura (trumpet) and contains the 37-minute Paul Bley.
The live double-disc Invisible Hand (april 2016) is a piano solo.
June (june 2016) was recorded by an expanded Kaze, Trouble Kaze, with a second piano (Sophie Agnel) and a second drummer (Didier Lasserre).
The Orchestra Tokyo recorded
Before The Dawn (2003), with the 20-minute Joh-Ha-Cue,
Peace (october 2014), a tribute to former guitarist Kelly Churko,
performed by a
20-musician ensemble (all reedists plus the rhythm section) plus two members of Kaze and containing
Fujii's 33-minute 2014 (but she didn't perform on it).
Gato Libre, formed by Satoko Fujii (accordion), Norikatsu Koreyasu (bass), Kazuhiko Tsumura (guitar) and Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), released Strange Village (october 2004), Nomad (march 2006), Kuro (may 2007), Shiro (august 2009), Forever (september 2011), Dudu (june 2013) with Yasuko Kaneko (trombone), and Neko (august 2016), the last recording by Kazuhiko Tsumura before his death.
Satoko Fujii (piano) and her husband Natsuki Tamura (trumpet) recorded several duo albums:
How Many? (january and november 1996); Clouds (february 2001); Muku (october 2001, but released in 2012 only); In Krakow In November (november 2005); Chun (july 2008);
Kisaragi (recorded in 2015).
Fujii's Quartet, with Tamura on trumpet and the rhythm section of Takeharu Hayawaka (bass) and Tatsuya Yoshida (drums), released: Vulcan (april 2001), Minerva (april 2002), Zephyros (september 2003), Angelona (november 2004), Bacchus (december 2006), and Live At Jazz Room Cortez (december 2016), the latter performed by a different line-up (drummer Takashi Itani and violinist Keisuke Ohta) and containing the 31-minute Looking Out The Window.
Aspiration (november 2016) features Wadada Leo Smith and Naksuki Tamura on trumpets and Ikue Mori on electronics and contains six lenghty pieces.
Live At Jazz Room Cortez (december 2016) features a quartet with Keisuke Ohta on violin, Natsuki Tamura on trumpet and Takashi Itani on percussion and
contains two lengthy improvisations: the 18-minute Convection and the 31-minute Looking Out The Window.
The New York Orchestra returned with the five-movement suite Fukushima (premiered in june 2017) dedicated to the 2011 nuclear disaster. The line-up was: Oscar Noriega (alto sax), Ellery Eskelin and Tony Malaby (tenor saxes), Andy Laster (baritone sax), Dave Ballou, Herb Robertson and Natsuki Tamura (trumpets), Joey Sellers, Joe Fiedler and Curtis Hasselbring (trombones), Nels Cline (guitar), Stomu Takeishi (bass) and Ches Smith (drums). Fujii composed it but didn't play.
In 2018 Fujii planned to release twelve albums, one each month, to celebrate her 60th birthday, starting with the live
Solo (july 2017) and
Kaze's fourth album
Atody Man (Libra, 2018).
The orchestra Berlin returned with
Ninety-Nine Years (april 2017) , featuring
Matthias Schubert and Gebhard Ullmann (both on tenor sax), Paulina Owczarek (baritone sax), Natsuki Tamura, Richard Koch and Lina Allemano (all on trumpet), Matthias Mueller (trombone), Kazuhisa Uchihashi (guitar), Jan Roder (bass), Michael Griener and Peter Orins (both on drums).
Kira Kira's Bright Force (september 2017), containing three pieces, notably the 35-minute three-movement suite Luna Lionfish, documents a new project with Tamura, Alister Spence on electric piano and Ittetsu Takemura on drums.
Orchestra Nagoya was a project created in 2003 featuring an all-Japan acoustic lineup: bass, drums, guitar, six saxes, two trombones, five trumpet and tuba. The ensemble debuted with Nagoyanian, five pieces recorded in two sessions (may 2003 and march 2004), followed by Maru, with the same lineup, documented six pieces (notably the 16-minute Sakuradori Sen) recorded in march 2006. Their third album was Sanrei, seven pieces live recorded in september 2007. The sound of these album is a mixing of jazz-rock, with many improvisations, and Fujii just conducts, but doesn't play.
The trio This Is It! featured her husband Natsuki Tamura on trumpet and Takashi Itani on drums for 1538 (january 2018) but Joe Fonda on contrabass & flute and Gianni Mimmo on soprano sax for Triad (october 2017), that includes the 42-minute Birthday Girl.
Mizu (october 2017) was another collaboration with Joe Fonda (bass and flute).
The project Mahobin (Ikue Mori on electronics, Lotte Anker on saxes and Natsuki Tamura on trumpet) debuted with Live At Big Apple In Kobe (february 2018), containing the 42-minute Rainbow Elephant.
Intelsat (september 2017) documents a live improvisation with Australian keyboardist Alister Spence (prepared and electric pianos and effects), including the 22-minute Narvi.
A new project, AMU, featuring Mizuki Wildenhahn on percussive dance, Natsuki Tamura on trumpet & percussion, and Takashi Itani on percussion, debuted with the disc and video Weave (july 2018).
The double-disc Diary 2005-2015 (2018) collects
piano compositions performed by Yuko Yamaoka.
Fujii doesn't play on Orchestra Tokyo's Kikoeru (august 2018) that contains the 17-minute Farewell.
The Orchestra Kobe returned after 13 years with Imagine Meeting You Here (may 2017), a large-scale work for improvising ensemble (premiered in february 2016) that was a by-product of Alister Spence's doctoral thesis in music composition.
Stone (september 2018) was a solo piano album.
Confluence (december 2018) was a collaboration with drummer Spanish Ramon Lopez.
Four (september 2018) captured a live performance with contrabassist Joe Fonda.
Duets with drummer Tatsuya Yoshida were collected on
Toh-Kichi (may 2002), Erans (july 2003) and
Baikamo (july 2019).
The New York Orchestra returned with Entity (may 2019), containing five lengthy compositions including the 16-minute Gounkaiku and performed by a sax quintet (Oscar Noriega, Briggan Krauss, Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby and Andy Laster), a trumpet trio (Natsuki Tamura, Herb Robertson and Dave Ballou), two trombones (Curtis Hasselbring and Joe Fiedler), Nels Cline (guitar), Stomu Takeishi (bass) and Ches Smith (drums). Fujii did not play, only composed.
Fuji and Tamura launched the project Pentas with Tribute To Eric And Chris Stern (november 2019).
Gato Libre returned with Koneko (december 2019), featuring
trombonist Yasuko Kaneko and Tamura, who composed the music,
and Sleeping Cat (may 2022), featuring Tamura, Yasuko Kaneko on trombone and Fujii on accordion.
Kaze's Sand Storm (february 2020) featured guest Ikue Mori on electronics and contains the 17-minute Kappa.
Prickly Pear Cactus (february 2020) was the outcome of a remote Internet collaboration between Ikue Mori (electronics), Satoko Fujii (piano) and Natsuki Tamura (trumpet) during the covid pandemic.
Fujii's new project Futari with vibraphonist Taiko Saito debuted on Beyond (july 2019).
Futari is also documented on Underground, recorded in several sessions in 2018 and 2021.
Hazuki (august 2020) is another piano solo.
Keshin (november 2020) was another collaboration with her husband Tamura.
The live Moon On The Lake (september 2020), containing the 18-minute Aspiration, documents a new trio with Takashi Sugawa on bass & cello and Ittetsu Takemura on drums.
The two volumes of Piano Music (march 2021) contain three lengthy
compositions: Shiroku, Fuwarito and Tomeru.
Her trio This Is It! returned with Mosaic (june 2021), recorded over long distances during the covid pandemic.
Thread Of Light (february 2021) were duets with Joe Fonda (bass, cello and flute)
Summer Tree (august 2021) were duets with her husband Tamura, but mostly his work.
Hyaku - One Hundred Dreams (september 2022) was performed live with Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax), Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon), Wadada Leo Smith and Natsuki Tamura (trumpets), Tom Rainey and Chris Corsano (drums), Brandon Lopez (bass) and Ikue Mori (electronics).
On Bokyaku (2022) she plays piano along machines such as trains, airplane, helicopters, washing machines, boats, etc.
Perpetual Motion (january 2022) documents a lengthy improvisation with Otomo Yoshihide on electric guitar.
(recorded between october 2021 and may 2022 over the Internet)
was a collaboration of the couple with
featured Christian Pruvost (trumpet), Peter Orins (drums) and Ikue Mori (electronics).
Torrent (october 2022) was her ninth solo piano album.
Trio San, formed
with Taiko Saito (vibraphone) and Yuko Oshima (drums),
debuted with the live
Hibiki (november 2022).