Satoko Fujii is an improvisational heavy weight taking her New York Orchestra straight into the harmonic stratosphere of sound and texture.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Satoko Fujii has one primary focus which is to make music no one has ever heard before. On a global scale the creativity and vision of pianist Satoko Fujii has few equals. Adventurous, fierce, and over flowing with a creative life force has Fujii's New York Orchestra promoting some of the finest new improvisational innovators to be found in the jazz mecca of the universe.
A most engaging dichotomy occurs between the nearly 40 minute opening piece "Shiki" which is the conceptual notion of the stages of life reflected with the shifting scored and improvisation combinations that occur throughout this most formidable composition. The polar opposite is tbe whimsical and incredibly eclectic "Bi Ga Do Da" which breaks down the walls of inaccessibility and creates an amazing intangible of warmth and comfort. There is a subtle flowing peace to this stunning adventure in lyrical freedom. Influenced by the untimely passing of friend and bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu there is a return to simple yet powerful melodies that make their own mark without pushing the harmonic envelope or the listener into the lyrical abysses.
As far reaching as the depth of Fujii's compositional prowess can take her, there is that inward journey that creates a uniformity of execution without pretense or an ostentatious approach that some contemporaries find themselves caught in when attempting a work such as this. Her best work thus far? No...Satoko Fujii's best work is always the release yet to come. The Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York is predictable in their unpredictability. A cerebral and visceral soul shower.
Tracks: Shiki; Gen Himmel; Bi Ga Do Da.
Personnel: Oscar Noreiga, Briggan Krauss - Alto Sax; Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby - Tenor Sax; Andy Laster - Baritone Sax; Natsuki Tamura, Herb Robertson, Steven Bernstein, Dave Ballou - Trumpet; Curtis Hasselbring, Joey Sellers, Joe Fiedler - Trombone; Satoko Fujii - Piano; Stomu Takeishi - Bass; Aaron Alexander - Drums.