Gato Libre | DuDu | Libra Records

DuDu Gato Libre ran aground when our bass player, Norikatsu Koreyasu, passed away suddenly. I was not sure what to do, but decided to continue the band and invited a different guest player to sit in with us every time we performed. When Yasuko Kaneko performed with the band, it felt right. Her trombone timbre matched the band well and she has a sweet and wonderful personality. I invited her again and then I decided to ask her to become part of Gato Libre. We restarted the Gato Libre quartet with strange instrumentation – trumpet, trombone, accordion and guitar. When I compose I think about this new instrumentation so the music is now different from before. I hope you enjoy the strange newborn Gato Libre. — Natsuki Tamura Continue reading

Libra Records

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. Continue reading

Satoko Fujii | Gen Himmel | Libra Records

What that comes down to is that you must approach Satoko and her music with a refreshed mind and the expectation that she will fill your ears with music that comes directly and pristinely out of her own creative being. And that is indeed the case on Gen Himmel. This is music that has freedom and compositional structuring in more or less equal measure. It is avant without trying to “take it out” so much as explore ideas. With Satoko Fujii’s fertile musical imagination that turns out to be a delightful proposition. More I need not say, except by way of the invitation to listen. This one will repay your attention with a wealth of good sounds. —Grego Applegate Edwards Continue reading

Kaze | Tornado | Libra Records

This music is evidence of the existence of entire jazz worlds that most listeners and even collectors might easily be unaware of. Satoko Fujii is obviously a master and a visit to her website reveals a rich catalog of recordings. That such music can be recorded is evidence that such worlds can be easily visited by wanders who fly about in their internet tardis. Tornado was released by Circum-Libra Records. You can also get solo recordings by Fujii (Gen Himmel) and Tamura (Dragon Mat) on Libra Records. I will review these in short order. I urge you to seek out and purchase these recordings. This is music worth investing money, time, and heart in. —Ken Blanchard Continue reading

Koh

Koh was born 1979 as Koh Otera in Tokyo, Japan. At the age of 4 she started taking piano lessons. In 1992 she began studying the piano under Fumiko Yoshida (associate professor of Kunitachi College of Music) and Grete Dichler (professor of University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria), and from 1998 onward Koh began performing in public. Koh gratuated in 2002 from Kunitachi College of Music, and participated at various music festivals, and in 2004 she played together with Satoko Fujii and invited Ted Reichman to record in New York. Continue reading

Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York | Eto | Libra Records

My husband, Natsuki Tamura will turn sixty years old this year. In Japan we have a special celebration for sixty years olds, called “Kanreki.” We use the Chinese zodiac in Japan which is called “Eto,” so 12 years is one cycle. 60 is a special number because it is 12 x 5 and 10 x 6. The duodecimal system and decimal system meet at 60. I wanted write some music for this, and read a bit about the Chinese zodiac. Each of the 12 animals in the zodiac has its own character and each character inspired me a lot, so I wrote a short piece for each of them to make one long suite. Each piece has featured solo player. — Satoko Fujii Continue reading

Angelo Verploegen | Misha Mengelberg | Natsuki Tamura | Satoko Fujii | Double Duo | Crossword Puzzle | Libra Records

They (Mengelberg and Verploegen) converse and dovetail with the amazingly prolific team of trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii in a uniquely textured and beautifully nuanced performance recorded live at Amsterdam’s Bimhuis… At 43:31 this music would have fit on a single vinyl LP and it feels just right: long enough to be satisfying and short enough to leave you wanting more. Crossword Puzzle is a poly-portmanteu packed with creative, adventurous music. — Bill Barton, Signal To Noise Continue reading