Satoko Fujii — Gen Himmell
(Libra 201-033, 2013, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-08-23Japanese 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.
Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
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