Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo — Peace (Tribute to Kelly Churko)
(Libra 217-039, 2016, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-02-15
We’ve been reviewing pianist and composer Satoko Fujii’s releases for a number of years, going back to the earliest days of the printed edition, as well as various side projects including Kaze (the internatioal quartet with her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, French trumpeter Christian Pruvost, and French drummer Peter Orins, all of whom appear on this release). Even though we have covered many releases, this marks the first time we have reviewed something by Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo, her Tokyo based 15 member free jazz ensemble, with a handful of previous releases. The subtitle of Peace is Tribute to Kelly Churko, who was the Canadian born guitarist who lived in Tokyo for a decade and played on the Tokyo group’s previous release Zakopane; “Peace,” the third track here, at ten minutes, was written in his memory, and is a blast of full throttle free jazz. Opening the disc is the 33 minute epic “2014,” which goes off in a lot of different directions over its duration, some quiet and pensive, others loud with seemingly all blowing at once (there are five saxophonists, five trumpeters and three trombonists here, along with bass and drums), and some quite experimental, but it holds together quite well. Tamura’s piece “Jasper” clocks in at nine minutes and presents a beautiful and haunting melody on trumpet at the opening, with droning trombones resulting in something somewhat reminiscent of bagpipes, but eventually the whole crew joins in and it gets pretty loud, but returns to a quieter reading of the pensive opening melody again before the end. The closer, “Beguine Nummer Eins,” features a memorable main melody and benefiting from a seemingly leaner concentration of instrumentation, along with numerous great solos over its six minute duration.
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more