Libra Records

is an artist-owned record label founded in 1997 by pianist/composer Satoko Fujii and trumpeter/composer Natsuki Tamura. With 27 CDs so far, from solo, duo, trio and quartet to big band and orchestra formats, Libra is dedicated to the near limitless musical and creative vision of these two highly prolific and creative cutting-edge artists. CDs feature beautiful original artwork on environmentally friendly paper covers.

Satoko Fujii … and bands … looking back from the future …

I can guarantee, with certainty, that, somewhere in 2087, in a bar on the planet ZOrghk942, when some legally extraterrestrialized, yet interesting, jazz afficionados are thinking back about their favorite music at the turn of the century on planet Earth, that Satoko Fujii will come up in the discussion. Many- and I mean MANY – of the musicians that we think of as good today, will unfortunately have totally disappeared into oblivion, disappeared into a black hole outside history, fortunately together with some other zillion musicians who occupy radio space.

What makes Satoko Fujii great? The answer is simple : she is music, she loves music, she creates new languages in music. And I mean indeed the plural of the word. She has more ideas in a year than most musicians in a lifetime, and she manages to create with each CD and with each line-up something exceptional, out of the ordinary, unique and yet accessible, relatively speaking then. The major problem with many avant-garde musicians is that their lack of inspiration pushes their music over the cliffs of endurable listening, into the chasms of self-absorbed and self-indulgent hermetism. Not so with Fujii – she pulls her listeners out of their comfort zone into new realms of music, into new listening experiences, but more gratifying than crashing off cliffs, she rather lifts them up into the air, up for new vistas, where falling is no longer an option, with room only for surprise, wonder and joy, hard at times, sweet at others, but always impressive, and once you’re in her musical universe, falling is no longer an option, you fly along …

Her music is not only exceptional, she is also prolific, like Mozart, releasing one CD after another, in some years even one a month, and each of a level of quality that is suprising. I just got three new CDs released by her by three of the bands she plays in, and I am at a total loss about how to review them. Let’s give it a try. — Stef

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