Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin performs rare live concert
Friday, September 16 at Aufsturz-Klub, Berlin
Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin with Matthias Schubert and Uli Kempendorff on tenor sax; Paulina Owczarek on baritone sax; Nikolaus Neuser, Nils Ostendorf, and Natsuki Tamura on trumpet; Matthias Müller on trombone; Keisuke Matsuno on guitar; Jan Roder on bass; Michael Griener and Peter Orins on drums
Group’s debut 2015 CD Ichigo Ichie earned wide critical acclaim
"Fujii is the Ellington of free jazz." – Bob Rusch, Cadence
“[Fujii has] reinvigorated the big-band concept for the new century – and placed herself at the forefront of the style at the same time.” ⎯ Marc Chénard, Coda
“Unpredictable, wildly creative and uncompromising…. Fujii is an absolutely essential listen for anyone interested in the future of jazz.” – Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
Jazzkeller 69 e.V. presents a rare live performance by the internationally acclaimed Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin on Friday, September 16 at 9 p.m. at Aufsturz-Klub, Oranienburgerstr. 67, Berlin-Mitte, Germany.
Tickets are 10 euro and 7 euro
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Joining pianist/composer/conductor Satoko Fujii are Matthias Schubert and Uli Kempendorff on tenor sax; Paulina Owczarek on baritone sax; Nikolaus Neuser, Nils Ostendorf, and Natsuki Tamura on trumpet; Matthias Müller on trombone; Keisuke Matsuno on guitar; Jan Roder on bass; Michael Griener and Peter Orins on drums.
This is the second ever performance by the group, which has earned multiple 4-stars reviews and wide critical acclaim for its 2015 Libra Records release Ichigo Ichie. “Fujii…is the Ellington of free jazz… almost 55-minutes of mesmerizing music, this is a beaut,” says Bob Rusch in Cadence Magazine. It’s “…a singular and unparalleled listening experience,” notes Hrayr Attarian in All About Jazz. “Ichigo Ichie…does not swing in the manner of a Basie- or Ellington-inspired big band or rock like a Gil Evans or Maynard Ferguson project. Instead, it swells in oceanic crests from which its musicians… soar wildly…. leaves you dazed, possibly confused and definitely wonderstruck,” exclaims Derk Richardson in The Absolute Sound.
Over nearly twenty years of touring and collaborating with some of the world’s most renowned musicians, Fujii has become a global citizen, evidenced by the orchestras she’s established in several major cities. She’s earned a place in the Big Band category of the DownBeat Annual Critics Poll as well as being named a Rising Star Composer in the poll. With Ichigo Ichie Fujii debuted her first European large ensemble. Based in Berlin where she lived for five years, the Orchestra Berlin joins a roster of improvising big bands based in New York and Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kobe in Japan.
“I like having orchestras in different cities because that kind of diversity can give my music energy,” Fujii says. “In Europe in general, musicians have excellent technique, because they have a long classical music history and the education is very good. Also, Berlin is a very international city, so I’m playing with musicians in Berlin but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re German musicians.”
Critics and fans alike hail Fujii as one of the most original and wide-ranging voices in jazz today. She’s “a virtuoso piano improviser, an original composer and a bandleader who gets the best collaborators to deliver," says John Fordham in The Guardian. In concert and on more than 80 albums as a leader or co-leader, she synthesizes jazz, contemporary classical, avant-rock and Japanese folk music into an innovative music instantly recognizable as hers alone.
The Tokyo native relocated to the U.S. to study at Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory, where she was mentored by the likes of Paul Bley, Herb Pomeroy, George Russell, and Cecil McBee. Over the years, Fujii has led some of the most consistently creative ensembles in modern improvised music, including the ma-do quartet, the Min-Yoh Ensemble, and an electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins. In recent years she’s also formed fruitful collaborations with such inventive artists as pianist Myra Melford, drummer John Hollenbeck, violinist Carla Kihlstedt, guitarist Elliott Sharp and bassist Joe Fonda.
Fujii has established herself as one of the world’s leading composers for large jazz ensembles. Her ultimate goal: “I would love to make music that no one has heard before.”