Critics and fans alike hail pianist
and composer Satoko Fujii as one of the most original voices in jazz today.
She’s “a virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a band-leader who
gets the best collaborators to deliver,’ says John Fordham in The Guardian. In concert and on more than 50
albums, the Tokyo resident synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock
and Japanese folk music into an innovative music instantly recognizable as hers
Since she burst onto the scene in
1996 after earning her graduate degree from New England Conservatory, Fujii has
led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised
music. Her trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black has released
numerous albums, all of which earned places in critics’ year-end Top 10 lists.
In 2001, she debuted an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring Takeharu
Hayakawa, Tatsuya Yoshida, and Natsuki Tamura, and their high-energy albums
were hailed by listeners worldwide.
Fujii has also established herself
as one of the world’s leading composers for large jazz ensembles. Since 1996,
she has released a steady stream of acclaimed releases for large ensemble including
simultaneously releasing four big band albums in 2006. In addition to playing
accordion in her husband Natsuki Tamura’s Gato Libre quartet, she also performs
in a duo with Tamura, as an unaccompanied soloist and in ad hoc groupings with
musicians working in different genres. Her special projects have included
collaborations with saxophone quartet, violinist Carla Kihlstedt, a quartet
with Dutch pianist Misha Mengelberg and trumpeters Angelo Verploegen and
Natsuki Tamura, and a trio with vocalist Koh, and accordionist Ted Reichman.
performing with her orchestra, combo, or playing solo piano, Fujii points the
listener towards the future of music itself rather than simply providing
entertainment,” writes Junichi Konuma in Asahi Graph. She tours regularly appearing at
festivals and clubs in the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe. Her
ultimate goal: “I would love to make music that no one has heard before.”