Satoko Fujii

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Satoko Fujii
Satoko Fujii photo.jpg
Fujii in San Diego in September 2008.
Background information
Birth nameSatoko Fujii (藤井郷子, Fujii Satoko)
Born (1958-10-09) 9 October 1958 (age 63)
Tokyo, Japan
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instrument(s)Piano, accordion

Satoko Fujii (藤井郷子, Fujii Satoko, born 9 October 1958) is a Japanese avant-garde jazz pianist, accordionist and composer.


Early life

Fujii was born in Tokyo on 9 October 1958. [1] She started playing the piano at age 4, receiving classical training until she was 20, [1] when she became interested in improvisation and jazz. In her twenties, she received instruction in jazz from pianist Fumio Itabashi in Tokyo. [2]

Later life and career

Fujii went to the United States in 1985, graduating from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1987, returning to the US in 1993, [1] achieving a graduate diploma in Jazz Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1996. While at the Conservatory, she also had lessons with pianist Paul Bley, "which consisted largely of conversation over cappuccinos, [and] eased her toward self-expression." [2] [3] In 1996, their duo album, Something About Water, was released; Fujii commented that it was a major event for her: "I started to accept myself, little by little." [2] She returned to Japan with her new husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, leader of Gato Libre. She leads various big bands in Japan, such as Orchestra Tokyo. She established Orchestra New York in 1997. [4]

Around 2007, the quartet ma-do was created, consisting of Fujii, Tamura, bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu and drummer Akira Horikoshi. [5] In 2010, Fujii co-founded Kaze, a group containing herself, Tamura, trumpeter Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins. [6] She has played accordion on recordings by the band Gato Libre, including DuDu and Kuro. [7] [8]

Fujii has recorded prolifically: between 1996 and 2009 she released more than 40 albums. [4] In 2018, she released an album every month to celebrate turning 60. [2]

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fujii and Tamura have been releasing albums recorded in their home studio on Bandcamp on a regular (monthly or bi-monthly) basis.

Playing style

The Down Beat reviewer of Under the Water, a piano duet album with Myra Melford, stated that "Fujii varies dynamics widely, jump-cutting from a fierce, free barrage to a sprinkle of single, crystalline notes." [9]


Satoko Fujii Discography (as of February 2022)
TitleYearLabelCatalog #Other details
Something About Water [10] 1996Libra Records202-002Duet featuring Paul Bley
Indication [11] 1996Libra Records202-003Piano solo
How many1997Libra Records102-103First duet album with Natsuki Tamura on trumpet
Looking Out Of The Window [12] 1997Ninety-OneCRCJ-9139Trio featuring Mark Dresser, bass; Jim Black, drummer
South Wind1997Libra Records215-104First Satoko Fujii Orchestra album
Past Life1998Libra Records206-004Satoko Fujii Sextet
Kitsune-bi [13] 1999 Tzadik TZ 7220piano solo, Trio featuring Mark Dresser, Jim Black, with Sachi Hayasaka on soprano saxophone
Jo1999Buzz RecordsZZ76008Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York
Toward, 'To West'1999ENJA RecordsENJ 93822Trio featuring Mark Dresser, bass; Jim Black
Double Take2000EWE RecordsEW0019/20Orchestra East/Orchestra West
April Shower [14] 2001EWE RecordsEWCC 0006Featuring Mark Feldman, violin
Junction2001EWE RecordsEWCC 0034Trio featuring Mark Dresser and Jim Black
Vulcan2001Libra Records204-005Satoko Fujii Quartet
Clouds2001Libra Records102-006Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii duet
The Future of the Past2002ENJA RecordsENJ-94572Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York
Bell The Cat! [15] 2002on offTKCB-72369Trio featuring Mark Dresser, bass; Jim Black, drummer
Minerva2003Libra Records204-007Satoko Fujii Quartet
Toh-Kichi(藤吉) [16] 2002Les Disques VictoVICTO CD 083Featuring Tatsuya Yoshida, drums and voice
Before the Dawn2003NatSat MusicMTCJ 3010Satoko Fujii Orchestra East (Tokyo)
Zephyros2003NatSat MusicMTCJ 3011Satoko Fujii Quartet
Blueprint2004NatSat MusicMTCJ 3016Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York
Illusion Suite2004Libra Records203-009Satoko Fujii Trio
Nagoyanian2004BakamoBKM 001Satoko Fujii Orchestra Nagoya
Erans [17] 2004TzadikTZ 7247Featuring Tatsuya Yoshida, drums and voice
Sketches [18] 2004Natsat MusicMTCJ-3013piano solo
In the Tank [19] 2005Libra Records104-011Featuring Takayuki Kato, Elliott Sharp, Natsuki Tamura
Fragment2006Libra Records203-013Junk Box
Strange Village2005on offMZCO 1073Gato Libre
Live in Japan2005NatSat MusicMTCJ 3022Satoko Fujii Four
Angelona2005Libra Records204-014Satoko Fujii Quartet
Live!!2006Libra Records205-015/016Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo
Undulation2006PolystarCJ 3032Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York
When We Were There2006PolystarCJ 3034Satoko Fujii Four
Crossword Puzzle2007Libra Records104-017Double duo (Tamura/Verploegen/Mengelberg/Fujii)
in Krakow in November2006Not TwoMW 774-2Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii duo
Kobe Yee!!2006Crab Apple records002Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe
Maru2006BakamoBKM-005Satoko Fujii Orchestra Nagoya
Nomad2006on offMZCO-1103Gato Libre
Fujin Raijin2007VICTOCD 105Satoko Fujii Min-Yoh Ensemble
Bacchus2007on offMZCO 1136Satoko Fujii Quartet
Minamo [20] 2007Henceforth Records105Featuring Carla Kihlstedt, violin
Kuro2008Libra Records104-018Gato Libre
Cloudy Then Sunny2008Libra Records203-019Junk Box
Trace a River2008Libra Records203-020Satoko Fujii Trio
Sanrei2008BakamoKM 007Satoko Fujii Orchestra Nagoya
Heat Wave2008Libra Records204-021Satoko Fujii ma-do
Chun2008Libra Records102-022Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii duo
Summer Suite2008Libra Records215-023Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York
Under the Water2009Libra Records202-024Satoko Fujii and Myra Melford
Kuroi Kawa2009Tzadik7720-2Minamo
Cut the Rope2009Libra Records104-025First Meeting (Tamura/Churko/Fujii/Yamamoto)
Desert Ship2009Not TwoMW 826-2Satoko Fujii ma-do
Shiro2009Libra Records104-026Gato Libre
Zakopane2010Libra Records216-027Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo
Watershed2011Libra Records204-028Satoko Fujii Min-Yoh Ensemble
Eto2011Libra Records215-029Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York
Rafale2011Circum-Libra201Kaze (Tamura/Pruvost/Fujii/Orins)
Forever2012Libra Records104-030Gato Libre
Muku2012Libra Records102-031Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii duo
Time stands still2013Not TwoMW 897-2ma-do
Gen Himmel2013Libra Records201-033piano solo
Spring Storm2013Libra Records203-034Satoko Fujii New Trio
DuDu2014Libra Records104-035Gato Libre
Shiki2014Libra Records215-036Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York
Ichigo Ichie2015Libra Records212-037Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin
Yamiyo ni Karasu2015Libra Records204-038Tobira
Peace (Tribute to Kelly Churko)2016Libra Records217-039Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo + Kaze
Duet2016Long SongLSRCD 140Satoko Fujii, Joe Fonda with Natsuki Tamura
Invisible Hand2016Cortez SoundCSJ0001/0002piano solo
Neko2017Libra Records104-040 (041 vinyl)Gato Libre
Kisaragi2017Libra Records102-042Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii duo
June2017Circum-LibraLX 009Trouble Kaze
Live at Jazz Room Cortez2017Cortez SoundCSJ0005Satoko Fujii Quartet (Fujii/Tamura/Itani and Ota)
Aspiration2017Libra Records204-043Fujii/Tamura/Wadada Leo Smith/Ikue Mori
Fukushima2017Libra Records214-044 (045 vocal version)Satoko Fujii Orchestra NY
Solo2018Libra Records201-046piano solo
Atody Man2018Circum-Libra204Kaze
Mizu2018Long Song RecordsLSCD 045Satoko Fujii & Joe Fonda
Ninety-nine Years2018Libra Records211-047Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin
Bright Force2018Libra Records204-048Kira Kira (Fujii/Tamura/Spence/Takemura)
15382018Libra Records203-049This is it! (Fujii/Tamura/Itani)
Triad2018Long Song RecordsLSCD 042Fujii, Fonda & Mimmo
Intelsat2018Alister Spence MusicASM 007Fujii & Spence
Live at Big Apple in Kobe2018Libra Records204-050Mahobin (Fujii/Tamura/Mori/Anker)
Weave2018Libra Records204-051 (052 DVD)Amu (Wildenhahn/Fujii/Tamura/Itani)
Kikoeru: Tribute to Masaya Kimura2018Libra Records215-055Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo
Imagine meeting you here2019Alister Spence MusicASM 008Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe
Stone2019Libra Records201-056piano solo (treated)
Confluence2019Libra Records202-057Satoko Fujii and Ramon Lopez
Entity2019Libra Records214-058Satoko Fujii Orchestra NY
Four2019Long Song RecordsLSRCD 151Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda
Baikamo2019Libra Records202-059Tohkichi (Fujii and Yoshida)
Koneko2020Libra Records103-060Gato Libre
Pentas2020Not Two RecordsMW 999Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii duo
Beyond2020Libra Records202-061Futari (Satoko Fujii and Taiko Saito)
Sand Storm2020Circum-Libra205Kaze & Ikue Mori
Prickly Pear Cactus2020Libra Records203-062Ikue Mori, Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura
Hazuki2020Libra Records201-063piano solo
Mantle2020Not Two RecordsMW 1003Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura, Ramon Lopez
Keshin2020Libra Records102-064Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii duo
Moon on the Lake2021Libra Records203-065Satoko Fujii Tokyo Trio
Piano Music2021Libra Records203-067Satoko Fujii
Underground2021Libra Records203-068Futari (Satoko Fujii and Taiko Saito)
Mosaic2021Libra Records203-069This is it!
Any News2021Alister Spence MusicFujii & Spence
Thread of Light2022Fundacja Slucha!Satoko Fujii & Joe Fonda
July 2020 - Emaki/Solo improv
August 2020 - Midsummer
September 2020 - Solo concert
December 2020 - Futari at Guggenheim House
February 2021 - Morning dream
March 2021 - Step on thin ice
April 2021 - Piano music Vol. 1
May 2021 - Piano music Vol. 2
July 2021 - Underground Vol. 1 (Futari)
August 2021 - Underground Vol. 2 (Futari)
October 2021 - Underground Vol. 3 (Futari)
November 2021 - Hajimeru
February 2022 - when you turn off the light Vol. 1
March 2022 - when you turn off the light Vol. 2
April 2022 - when you turn off the light Vol. 3
April 2022 - Bokyaku

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  1. 1 2 3 Huey, Steve "Satoko Fujii". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Lutz, Phillip (February 2018). "Divergence Highlights Fujii's Talents". DownBeat . p. 16.
  3. Russonello, Giovanni (2021-03-17). "Satoko Fujii, a Pianist Who Finds Music Hidden in the Details of Life". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  4. 1 2 Panken, Ted (April 2009) "Satoko Fujii/Natsuki Tamura – Chun". Down Beat. p. 76.
  5. Drouot, Alain (September 2013) "Satoko fujii ma-do – Time Stands Still". Down Beat. p. 59.
  6. Woodard, Josef (August 2015) "Victoriaville Fest Embraces Jazz, Rock & Avant-Garde". Down Beat. p. 17.
  7. Hale, James (September 2008) "Trumpet Blasts". Down Beat. p. 77.
  8. Margasak, Peter (September 2014) "Gato Libre – DuDu". Down Beat. p. 74.
  9. Hale, James (September 2009) "Global Keys". Down Beat. p. 69.
  10. "Satoko Fujii Featuring Paul Bley - Something About Water". Discogs. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  11. "Satoko Fujii - Indication". Discogs. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  12. Satoko Fujii – Looking Out Of The Window (1997, CD) , retrieved 2021-03-18
  13. Satoko Fujii – Kitsune-bi (1999, CD) , retrieved 2021-03-18
  14. "Satoko Fujii - April Shower". Discogs. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  15. Satoko Fujii – Bell The Cat! (2002, CD) , retrieved 2021-03-18
  16. Satoko Fujii / Tatsuya Yoshida – Toh-Kichi = 藤吉 (2002, CD) , retrieved 2021-03-18
  17. Yoshida Tatsuya / Satoko Fujii – Erans (2004, CD) , retrieved 2021-03-18
  18. Satoko Fujii – Sketches (2004, CD) , retrieved 2021-03-18
  19. Natsuki Tamura + Elliott Sharp + Takayuki Kato + Satoko Fujii – In The Tank (2005, CD) , retrieved 2021-03-18
  20. Carla Kihlstedt & Satoko Fujii – Minamo (2007, CD) , retrieved 2021-03-18