Pianist-Composer Satoko Fujii Tours to Buffalo, Brooklyn, New Haven and Troy with Electifying New Quartet Tobira
“5 stars. If it were possible to give ten stars to Yamiyo Ni Karasu, it would deserve every single one for its power, inventiveness and the sheer ecstasy of creation in the moment.” – Budd Kopman, All About Jazz
“She may have released more than 70 albums over the past 20 years, but Satoko Fujii still brims with originality and energy. Yamiyo Ni Karasu rises to the top of her sprawling discography.”
– Steve Greenlee, JazzTimes
“Before long the quartet has lunged into Bad Plus territory where Fujii’s minor-key piano figures, drunk on octaves with easy up-and-down motion, pack enough of a punch alongside the drummer and bassist to make Ethan Iverson and company feel a tad bit nervousŠ. the first 13 minutes of Yamiyo Ni Karasu are stuffed with enough highs and lows to last an entire album.” – John Garrett, Pop Matters
Show at 8 p.m. Tickets: $15, $12 students/seniors, $10 members.
o Tuesday, November 17 – IBEAM, 168 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Sets at 8:30 and 10 p.m. Cover charge: 1st set $20 / 2nd set $15
The formation of Tobira marks Fujii’s return to leading a quartet after her renowned former group, Ma-Do, came to a tragic end following the death of bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu. “I just couldn’t imagine having the same band continuing without him,” Fujii says, “so I stopped playing with them. But I really wanted to have a quartet that could play my compositions.”
“Ma-Do” translated to English as “window,” so Fujii chose “Tobira,” meaning “door,” as the name for this new endeavor, both honoring the earlier band and declaring its difference. “I like the name because with a door, we can go out and go in and it’s always open to other worlds,” Fujii says. The seven new compositions on Yamiyo Ni Karasu exemplify that philosophy, migrating seamlessly between striking composed passages and searching, boundary-stretching improvisations. In its short time together the group has developed a near-telepathic sense of communication.
Yamiyo Ni Karasu is one of three new releases scheduled for 2015 from the always-prolific Fujii, whose prodigious output is only rivaled by her remarkable drive to constantly explore new terrain. Also on tap are the third album by the unorthodox two-trumpet collective quartet Kaze; and the debut CD by the Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin, the fifth city-specific large ensemble she’s founded, and the first group launched in her newly adopted home.
One of the most original and wide-ranging voices in modern jazz, Satoko Fujii has documented her abilities on more than 70 CDs in less than 20 years. The Tokyo native relocated to the U.S. to study at Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory, where she was mentored by the likes of Paul Bley, Herb Pomeroy, George Russell, and Cecil McBee.
Fujii has recorded with a staggering variety of ensembles, ranging from spontaneous large-form improvisations to intricate, complex compositions. Between 1997 and 2008, her New York trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black released seven critically acclaimed CDs, while at the same time she explored her duo project with Tamura. She has also led the quartets Ma-Do and Tobira and an avant-rock group featuring Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida. In recent years she’s formed fruitful collaborations with such inventive artists as pianist Myra Melford, drummer John Hollenbeck, violinist Carla Kihlstedt, and guitarist Elliott Sharp.