"Shiroku" is the first of two tracks from Piano Music by pianist/composer Satoko Fujii (September 17, 2021, Libra Records).
On this uncommon album, Fujii edits together short pre-recorded snippets of her prepared piano music to create a patchwork palette of utterly unique sonorities, emerging with two extended pieces of otherworldly piano sounds and melodies. The process involved recording short improvisations on single themes then transferring them into a music editing app in order to structure the larger works. "Putting together the small parts into a larger picture was just like improvising," says Fujii.
"Shiroku," which means "white" in Japanese, takes its time unfolding, with sustained drones connecting sequences of sounds and tones. Richly textured notes, soft waves of white noise, and rhythmic tinkling ebb and flow like a mysterious natural process.
Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer Satoko Fujii as one of the most original voices in jazz today. “Across all of Fujii’s work, contradictions come into balance; though her music is abstract and sometimes wild, each element shimmers with clarity,” writes Giovanni Russonello in his New York Times feature article. “In situations large and small, her tender attention to detail is equaled by her ability to convey enormous breadth and textural range.” In concert and nearly 100 albums as a leader or co-leader, she synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock, and folk musics into an innovative style instantly recognizable as hers alone. A prolific band leader and recording artist, she celebrated her 60th birthday in 2018 by releasing one album a month from bands old and new, from solo to large ensemble. Franz A. Matzner in All About Jazz likened the twelve albums to “an ecosystem of independently thriving organisms linked by the shared soil of Fujii's artistic heritage and shaped by the forces of her creativity.”
Over the years, Fujii has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music, including her trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black and an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins. Her ongoing duet project with husband Natsuki Tamura released their eighth recording, Keshin, earlier this year. “The duo's commitment to producing new sounds based on fresh ideas is second only to their musicianship,” says Karl Ackermann in All About Jazz. As the leader of no less than five orchestras in the U.S., Germany, and Japan, Fujii has also established herself as one of the world’s leading composers for large jazz ensembles, leading Cadence magazine to call her, “the Ellington of free jazz.”
- Jazz & Blues