lunes, 6 de febrero de 2017

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo - Peace (Tribute To Kelly Churko) LIBRA RECORDS 2017


Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo releases fifth recording Peace
a deeply personal celebration of friends and colleagues

Featuring 15-member Orchestra Tokyo with
special guests Peter Orins and Christian Pruvost from KAZE

"Fujii is the Ellington of free jazz." - Bob Rusch, Cadence

"Fujii has become over the past 25 years simply one of the most important composers of our time: she gives new meaning to the term 'pan-stylistic." - Alan Young, Lucid Culture


With each new orchestra album, pianist-composer Satoko Fujii deepens and refines one of the most startling and singular concepts in large ensemble free jazz today. Peace (January 27, 2017, Libra Records), the fifth album with her 15-member Orchestra Tokyo, is no exception. A tribute to the late guitarist Kelly Churko, the recording features special guests drummer Peter Orins and trumpeter Christian Pruvost with whom Fujii and her husband Natsuki Tamura perform in the collective quartet KAZE. Together these friends and colleagues create one of the most personal of Fujii's 18 (!) big band albums.

"I always try to come up with a special concept for each recording project," Fujii says. "When we recorded Peace, KAZE was in Japan touring. The two French musicians are very different from the Japanese musicians in the orchestra, so I thought it might be interesting to see how they all could draw inspiration from one another. I wanted to bring their voices into my Tokyo orchestra to get some kind of creative chemical reaction. I like how it came out. I think it succeeded."

Besides introducing special guests to the orchestra, Fujii also wanted to pay tribute to one of her most beloved collaborators, Canadian guitarist Kelly Churko, who lived in Tokyo for more than a decade and was a member of the Orchestra Tokyo from 2009 and the First Meeting quartet (Churko appears on the orchestra's 2010 release, Zakopane and First Meeting's Cut the Rope CD.) "He was an amazing person and such a talented musician," Fujii says.

Fujii wrote "Peace" in Churko's memory. From the title, you might not expect the full throttle intensity and explosive energy of the composition. Fujii showcases the entire sax section in a pulsating, triple forte collective improvisation to open the piece and the energy level never drops as baritone saxophonist Ryuichi Yoshida delivers a roaring solo, alto saxophonist Kunihiro Izumi swoops and wails and the drummers engage in earth-shaking duet. As Fujii explains, "Kelly loved noise music and crazy heavy metal sometimes, but he was the guy who was very peaceful and loved peace."


Churko died of cancer in 2014, so the sprawling half-hour composition "2014" has a tie to the guitarist as well. Working on a large musical canvas, Fujii has plenty of space to explore different aspects of the orchestra, from extended melodies to massive orchestral chords to subtle orchestrations. Fujii deploys duo and trio combinations of improvisers to enrich the written material. First up are the special guests Pruvost and Orins, followed by trombonist Yasuyuki Takahashi and tenor saxophonist Masaya Kimura.

The energy level of the performance jumps suddenly as the drummers go at it together and then trumpeters Natuski Tamura and Toshihiro Koike chatter and soar before bright and bold full ensemble blasts. A trio improvisation with trumpeter Takao Watanabe, trombonist Haguregumo Nagamatsu and tenorist Kenichi Matsumoto unfolds over a funky beat before bassist Toshiki Nagata has the final say.

Tamura's "Jasper" opens serenely, with featured soprano saxophone soloist Sachi Hayasaka improvising almost a call to prayer. The music builds to an impressive full orchestra crescendo before retreating to the hushed drone that began the piece. "Jasper was a cat of our old friend's, Jane Wang in Boston," Fujii explains. "He was Natsuki's best friend. They could communicate somehow and enjoyed napping together."


The album closes with "Beguine Nummer Eins," a melodic dance number whose title is a legacy of Fujii and Tamura's years spent in Berlin. (They are now based back in Japan.) Trumpeter Yoshihito Fukumoto delivers a robust, lyrical performance.

Critics and fans alike hail pianist and composer Satoko Fujii as one of the most original 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. Her most recent group, Satoko Fujii Tobira with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, bassist Todd Nicholson, and drummer Takashi Itani, released their debut recording Yamiyo Ni Karasu in 2015. 

"There are pulse-pounding rhythms, vibrant tones and dark chords woven together into a multi-shaded tapestry of soundŠWhat an absolute pleasure to listen to Satoko Fujii." wrote Travis Rogers Jr. in The Jazz Owl. 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. She 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." Her ultimate goal: "I would love to make music that no one has heard before."

Although Fujii is renowned as a pianist, her keyboard playing is not heard on Peace. "For me, composing is one of the most delicious parts of being a musician," she says. "I compose the piece but the composition is more like the starting point for improvising. With my orchestra, conducting is my improvisation. I can arrange my compositions on the stage with a lot of inspiration from my bandmates' playing. I'm not playing piano as much with my orchestra now. Many times, I don't play at all. I am just too busy directing and cueing the band. My band is my instrument."




Evan Parker & RGG - Live​@​Alchemia (FUNDACJA SLUCHAJ 2017)



On June 15th 2016 the website jazzarium.pl celebrated its fifth anniversary. It wasn't turning 18, but in the virtual reality time flows a bit differently, you count it not the same way as outside the Internet. Little or full-grown, we are very happy that thanks to you we were able and we are still able to do what we do. For you. Without you: both listeners and concert-goers, both CD producers and organisers of concerts, we wouldn't have been at the place we are now and most probably we wouldn't have found the power to continue. 

We are not big fans of exuberant celebrations and grand gala evenings, or PR slogans which are often much louder than the music they are supposed to promote. However, our fifth birthday was so important to us, that we decided to celebrate it in an appropriate way.

What was the way? Music, obviously – but what music? On such occasion we wanted to hear music that was unheard before. Music, that gives you no chance to prepare for or to anticipate its perception; music that is full of risk on one hand, and that can open new horizons for both listeners and musicians on the other. 

Therefore, we decided to invite artists, who in theory have very little in common (country of origin, years of stage experience, range of musical background), but in fact are not that different from one another – they have all dedicated their whole life to music and they've been doing it consequently and with just as much enchantment as at the beginning of their career. And, what's even more important, they keep taking their own way. 

It was a great honour to host the great magician of improvisation, Even Parker together with the most promising, in our opinion, formation of the Polish jazz scene, RGG. They played together on the hospitable stage of legendary Alchemia club inKrakow and today we're handing the recording of this meeting to you, believing that their music will be remembered by you as long as it's remembered by us.


Released February 6, 2017

Live At Alchemia 
Part One 16:54 
Part Two 18:31 
Part Three 18:07 
Part Four 19:05

All music improvised by Evan Parker / Łukasz Ojdana / Maciej Garbowski / Krzysztof Gradziuk 

Recorded June 12, 2016 at Alchemia, Kraków by Rafal Drewniany 
Mixed & Mastered at studio TOKARNIA by Jan Smoczyński 

Special thanks to: Evan Parker / Łukasz Ojdana / Maciej Garbowski / Krzysztof Gradziuk / Rafał Drewniany/ Jan Smoczyński / Lucjan Towpik 

Produced by Krzysztof Gradziuk & Maciej Karłowski 
Executive Producer: Maciej Karłowski 
Cover Design: Małgorzata Lipińska


Niculin Janett – No Parking Any Time (feat. Rich Perry) QFTF 2017


‘No Parking Any Time’ is a very powerful statement by Niculin and his crew, with superb playing by everyone and a repertoire that keeps it interesting throughout. The originals are specially strong and the choice of standards is refreshing to hear. Greatly enjoyed listening to this one and I’m sure I won’t be the only one Miguel Zenón, Saxophonist, NYC (2016)

 Niculin Janett auf Wallfahrt im Big Apple

[…[ Was wiederum nicht heisst, dass «No Parking Any Time» die Musik eines Gurus und seines Meisterschülers böte. Von den Spielanteilen her ist immer klar, dass hier Niculin Janett sein eigenes Album vorstellt. Ohnehin sind Janetts Töne erstaunlich stark und ausgereift. Und keine Sekunde lang braucht der junge Zürcher sich zu verstecken hinter Perry, dem New Yorker. –  Christoph Merki, Tagesanzeiger (07. Dec. 2016)

Niculin Janett Quartet – Einladung zum parkieren

Locker, Luftig, Cool […] Der Jungmusiker Janett gibt also ordentlich Gas. Vom faszinierenden Tempo und vom nimmermüden Puls der Stadt New York spricht er auch im CD-Booklet – und im Titel des Albums. Doch seine Musik ist keineswegs rasend oder gehetzt.  –  Jazz’n More (Jan. 2017)

Auch im Flüsterton durchaus dringlich

Ob vertrackte Eigenkompositionen oder zeitlose Standards: Dieses Quartett meistert jede Herausforderung mit Bravour und Souplesse. – Tom Gsteiger, St. Galler Tagblatt (04.Jan. 2017)


Body and Soul (07:57)
Alternate Ending (07:10)
30 Orchard Street (06:35)
Purcell’s Revenge (06:45)
Hypocrisy (04:02)
Exclamation (07:56)
The Importance of Being Idle (07:27)
I’ll Be Seeing You (10:00)

Rich Perry tenor Saxophone
Lisa Hoppe standup bass
Rodrigo Recabarren drums

All Songs written by Niculin Janett except 1 (Green), 2/7 L. Hoppe, 8 (Fain)

Recorded Sep.11, 12 2015 at Big Orange Sheep Studios, Brooklyn, NY. Engineered, mixed and masterd by Mike Perez-Cisneros.

Photos: Edward Grams, NYC
Artwork: Florine Baerswyl, CH