SATOKO FUJII — “Kikoeru (Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo)” (Libra Records, 2018)

SATOKO FUJII - Kikoeru (Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo) cover

“Kikoeru” was released by “Libra Records” on 2018. Album was recorded by “Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo”. The leader of this ensemble is Satoko Fuji – great pianist, improviser and composer. Her music is always filled with hot sparkles, interesting fusions, fresh sounds, evocative playing techniques, spontaneous decisions and marvelous improvisations. Satoko Fuji is famous at Japanese and international scene of avant-garde jazz – she’s always collaborating with the famous ,interesting and talented jazz stars from different countries of the world. “Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo” is playing the compositions written by Satoko Fuji. Here wide musical language, masterful virtuosity, precision and rich knownledge are mixed up with drive, passion, motions, characters and innovative ideas. The composer arranges the compositions, but each improviser has its own space to express himself. Rich language, spontaneous solos, sudden changes, impressive solos, dramatic culminations, bordering dynamics and incredible instrumentation are the keys of their music.

The compositions of “Kikoeru” are written for an interesting combo. There’s a huge number of reeds and brasses, who are used together with bass and drums. 5 saxophones of various types contain the reeds section. It’s moving, expressive, vital and thrilling. The saxophones always give the main tune to whole melodic line and dictate the mood, character, tempo and other similar matters. The brasses are extremely loud – this section has 5 trumpets and 3 trombones. That makes an effective, bright and turbulent sound. Both sections are loud, vigilantes and dramatic. It’s making a bright contrast with independent drums section and lonely bass. All music is completely based on avant-garde jazz and free improvisation. The main principes of Japan improvisational music, bebop, post bop, hard bop, American and European experimental jazz, contemporary academical music, the rules of contemporary academical music of Western Europe make a wide and contrasting fusion of styles and sounds. Satoko Fuji is demonstrating her composing style and manner. She’s playing with sound – fresh experiments, extraction of strange and weird tunes, moderation of different scales, wild and crazy ideas, modern innovations and expressions make the main frame of her music. She doesn’t like to stay on traditional and conventional jazz – improviser gives all the opportunities to musicians to improvise and create new matters, forms, subjects and playing techniques. Her composing style is based on open form, variable harmony, repetitive rhythmic series, exotic tunes, authentic melodic intonations and ornaments of traditional Japanese music, free improvisation and the roots of 1960’s and 1970’s avant-garde jazz. All musicians are playing with passion and drive. They get a fantastic result – music is awakening, bright, tremendous and expressive. Each musician is creating his own melody – huge variety of melodies construct the polyphonic musical pattern. It has dozens of layers, who are brought up together with gorgeous tunes, coloristics, expressions, rhythms, chords, tunes, timbres and moods of various characters and types. That finally forms a terrific melodic section with suggestive and vivid melodie, independent rhythmic section who’s contrasting with melody, and gorgeous background who makes an imaginary and illustrative sound of both sections. The instrumentation is simply fantastic. Glissando is changed by rigorous blow outs, stunning passages, impressive rolls, trembling arpeggio, vibrant trills, soft pizzicatto, dreamy and nostalgic chords, breaking sessions, drums and bass duos, shrieky tunes, furious sequences of sharp and aggressive chords and etc. Traditional playing techniques are used along with experimental ways of playing, who always are shocking, home-made, specific, wild, crazy or simply strange. All the techniques and expressions are used silmunateously or at the same time – it’s brought together in delicate and organic way. The harmony join together two cultures – Western Europe and Asian. The authentic tunes of ancien music of Japan, specific chords, exotic pitches bring colorful and exceptional sound. It’s gently combined with quadratic form, traditional playing techniques, the main principes of Western Europe instrumentation and modern music and other elements. The music is contrasting and bright – it’s full of colors, styles and moods. Vivid, expressive and moving saxophones are filled with gentle, light, urging, glimpsy or thrilling solos, furious blow outs, sparkling riffs or dreamy pauses. The musicians base their music on driving melodies, research and extraction of unusual timbres, colorful expressions, breaking sessions and evocative decisions – all that makes an effort to hypnotising, bright and turbulent melodic section. Extremely loud and powerful section of brass is filled with expressive and explosing culminations, From deep and dark tunes music gets vivid, powerful, terrific and wild. Wah-wah, growl, urging tunes, wild and thrilling blow outs is the main part of trumpet’s improvisations. The section is the source of energy, passion, drame and drive. These two sections make a wild, tremendous and simply marvelous culminations, who make a huge contrast to bass or drums solos. Soft and subtle bass contain the main bass line. Here it’s dark, deep, solemn and strict in some episodes. The bass is expressed the best in solo episodes and the excerpts, who have soft, gentle and dreamy mood. Here improviser searches to new timbres, evocative expressions, impressive or original ways of playing. That effects wide source of gorgeous, strange and fresh timbres. Drums section is firm, moving and dynamic. It’s also very universal – drummer can easily go through different moods without any force. Deep and static, wild, gentle, furious, aggressive, modern and natural, organic and synthetic, nervous, sparkling, relaxing or powerful and vibrant – all these moods are effective and intense. The music of this album is a nice result of sensitive playing, precise and virtuosic playing technique, luminous and driving melodies and a great collaborations between all members of ensemble.

Line Up:

Satoko Fujii-conductor, composer
Sachi Hayasaka-soprano saxophone, alto saxophone
Kunihiro Izumi-alto saxophone
Kenichi Matsumoto-tenor saxophone
Daisuke Fujiwara-tenor saxophone
Ryuichi Yoshida-baritone saxophone
Natsuki Tamura-trumpet
Yoshihito Fukumoto-trumpet
Takao Watanabe-trumpet
Yusaku Shirotani-trumpet
Yoshihito Fukumoto-trumpet
Haguregumo Nagamatsu-trombone
Yasuyuki Takahashi-trombone
Toshihiro Koike-trombone
Toshiki Nagata-bass
Akira Horikoshi-drums

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