Satoko Fujii Orchestra | South Wind | Libra Records

libra records 215-104

Oscar Noriega – alto saxophone & bass clarinet |  Briggan Krauss – alto saxophone & clarinet | Tony Malaby – tenor saxophone & soprano saxophone | David Castiglione – tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone & bamboo flute | Andy Laster – bariton saxophone & clarinet | Herb Robertson – trumpet, cornet & soplano hunting horn | Steven Bernstein, Dave Ballou, Natsuki Tamura – trumpet | Joe Fiedler, Curtis Hasselbring, Joey Sellers– trombone | Satoko Fujii – piano | Yuko Yamaoka – piano (on Jet Lag and Silence) | Stomu Takeishi – bass | Aaron Alexander – drums

Recorded at Systems Two Studios, New York by Mike Marciano, Joe Marciano and Nancy Marciano on June 19, 1997. Mastered at Hit Factory by Scott Hull on April 15, 2004. Executive producer: Natsuki Tamura. Design and photos by Motonobu Furuhata.

Tracklist: 1. JET LAG [10:33]  2. NO MORE [9:03] 3. THE SEASONS #01 Indication – Spring [10:37] #02 Silence – Summer [6:33] #03 This Is About You – Fall [4:15] #04 Freeze – Winter [5:53] 4. I DON’T KNOW [8:42] 5. SOUTH WIND [10:58]

Satoko Fujii Orchestra | South Wind | libra records

Formed in 1996 when Fujii lived briefly in the Big Apple

Orchestra New York boasts a truly all-star line up of the city’s most adventurous downtown improvisers. Personnel have changed remarkably little since then and through long familiarity with her music, they play Fujii’s compositions with amazing depth and expression. Their CDs are consistently listed on year-end top 10 CD lists in magazines such as Jazziz, Cadence, Coda, and Swing Journal.

This orchestra album was made by her avant-garde musical essense that has special dry and witty taste. We could see the moment that her talent come into bloom. –Masahiko Yu, Shinano Mainichi Newspaper

This big band packs fierce solo power, but Fujii flexes all that muscle masterfully. Her suite runs the loud-quiet, sweet-sour gamut, a model of tight composition and daring arrangement, driven by a rhythm section that hews close enough to the beat and a trio of trombones that do the heavy lifting… Grade ‘A’. ― Tom Hull, The Village Voice

The muscular riffing of Count Basie, sophisticated harmonies of Carla Bley, zany irreverence of Frank Zappa, and spasmodic freedom of Sun Ra are all fused into a wide-ranging aesthetic… Fujii reinvents the big band tradition, maintaining structural focus with intricate charts and tight arrangements, while still enabling her soloists maximum freedom of expression. — Troy Collins, All About Jazz

Writer’s Choice 1998: Top 10 CDs – Jerry D’Souza, Coda – Writer’s Choice 1998: Top 10 CDs – David Lewis, Coda – Editor’s Choice 1998: Top CDs – Cadence – Editor’s Choice 2006: Reissues – Cadence

Pianist/composer Fujii has come up with an enormously successful orchestral debut… much of this music nods to the AACM’s balancing act between control and surprise, between creative embellishment of scored material and off-the-cuff improvisation. The compositional range is truly staggering… By the time Fujii sends an Ivesian brass band marching through a frantic free-bop workout on ‘Freeze,’ it’s easy to be convinced that these people are capable of anything. For those of you on the lookout for a state-of-the-art, end-of-the-millennium big band, it has arrived. ― Michael Davis, Option

Editor’s Choice. An avant-garde big band capable of raising a ruckus rivaled only by a herd of elephants tumbling into a ravine… What does make her special is her developing gift for blending composition and improvisation, as well as a progressive vision that sees no boundaries within tonality and no restrictions within the avant-garde. ― Drew Wheeler, Jazz Central Station

“****(Four Stars). Young Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii takes a giant step forward with this spiky 15-piece band…South Wind is marked by its dynamic range. Massed horns are supplanted by simple drum figures, and cacophonous ensemble movements are slammed against solo piano. Fujii’s voicings are full of surprises… Like veteran bandleader George Russell, Fujii has found the key to fitting contemporary soloists into a big band format without sacrificing either power or inspiration.― James Hale, Ottawa Citizen

I will take off my chapeau to Fujii for exploring creative sound of an orchestra by keeping control of musicians of such caliber. ― CD Journal

Fujii is a major modern, envelope-pushing composer and pianist. Very impressive and a major avant contribution. Highly recommended and good liner notes. ― Chris Lunn, Victory Review

The result is a gleeful, funky outburst of neoteric jazz orchestral expressionism, a startling contrast to her previous albums… a milestone. ― Michael J. Williams, American Reporter

Fujii’s vision and intensity are remarkable, yet there are also welcome bits of lyricism and humor. ― Steve Feeney, Face

Multiple rhythms and free counterpoint are the name of the game here; think Sun Ra Arkestra meets Either/Orchestra with dashes of Stravinsky and Sousa for good measure.― Pete Gershon, Soundboard

Highly recommended for those with some adventure in their blood. ― Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

Highly polished and energetic. ― Mark Greenaway, Rubberneck

Although her instrumentation is that of a traditional jazz big band, the sound is unique and sensational. ― Yuto Naito, Jazz Life

The alternating Fujii/Tamura pieces are complex frameworks from which she is able to invoke dynamic sound ranges. Fujii opens the gates to permit a considerable amount of collective improvisation while still maintaining control of the reins by injecting stellar ensemble statements on top. ― Frank Rubolino, Cadence

Satoko Fujii Orchestra | South Wind | libra records


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