Exposé Online banner

Satoko Fujii — Gen Himmell
(Libra 201-033, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-08-23

Gen Himmell Cover artJapanese Pianist Satoko Fujii, now resident in Germany, is more typically cast as a player in duos, trios, quartets, and other configurations; an innovator and creative force the jazz / free jazz idioms, with countless recordings to her credit since first appearing on the horizon in the early 90s, she has appeared and recorded with the who's-who of the current avant / jazz scene in Japan, the U.S. and in Europe. But here, with her latest Gen Himmel, she is completely solo, for the first time since her Sketches release about ten years ago. She’s also outside the box of her regular jazz comfort zone; the works here tend to be more sparse, introspective, peaceful, and seemingly intensely personal, with plenty of space and ambience. While these twelve pieces are certainly informed by her jazz and improvisational background, as well as her classical roots, the compositions seem to be from a world of their own, sometimes joyful, playful, pensive, flowing free seemingly like improvisation, though each note in every passage seems carefully chosen to convey the feeling of the moment. The pace can be fast or slow, measured or hectic, there is plenty of compositional variety throughout to keep things interesting and animated from beginning to end. “Summer Solstice,” for example, is a stunning piece that could just go on forever, evolving constantly over its four-minute duration. There are occasional moments of avant-garde piano invention, like playing the strings of the piano from the inside, but they blend in well with the beautiful and sometimes angular and abstract melodies that are coming straight from the heart. This is a disc filled with magical moments, mysterious beauty, and an open vision.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ashes Are Nutritious - Frustration + – This oddly named quartet hails from South Amboy, NJ, and brings a number of strong elements to their debut studio release Frustration +, including a powerful vocal presence in frontman Billy Clifton....  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues