Entity by Satoko Fujii
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About the Album
"Entity" is the title track from the Satoko Fujii Orchestra New York's 11th album, out February 14, 2020 via Libra Records. Led by one of this era’s greatest big band composers, the orchestra sounds as fresh and exciting on their eleventh recording as they did on their first in 1997. Entity features a 13-piece big band with Oscar Noriega, Briggan Krauss, Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby, Andy Laster, Natsuki Tamura, Herb Robertson, Dave Ballou, Curtis Hasselbring, Joe Fiedler, Nels Cline, Stomu Takeishi, and Ches Smith. “Entity” opens with an attention-grabbing blast of energy that launches guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Ches Smith into a bounding and weaving duet. As the band sets up a regular two beat pattern, guitarist and drummer dip and curl in off-kilter tandem around the pulse, beautifully highlighting their subtle sense of rhythm and texture. 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 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 sixth recording, Kisaragi, in 2017. “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. Aspiration, a CD by an ad hoc quartet featuring Wadada Leo Smith, Tamura, and Ikue Mori, was released in 2017 to wide acclaim. “Four musicians who regularly aspire for greater heights with each venture reach the summit together on Aspiration,” writes S. Victor Aaron in Something Else. As the leader of no less than five orchestras in the U.S., Germany, and Japan (two of which, Berlin and Tokyo, released new CDs in 2018), Fujii has also established herself as one of the world’s leading composers for large jazz ensembles, leading Cadencemagazine to call her, “the Ellington of free jazz.”
Entity; Flashback; Gounkaiku; Elementary Particle; Everlasting.
Oscar Noriega: alto saxophone; Briggan Krauss: alto saxophone; Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone; Toby Malaby: tenor saxophone; Andy Laster: baritone saxophone; Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Herb Robertson: trumpet; Dave Ballou: trumpet; Curtis Hasselbring: trombone; Joe Fiedler: trombone; Nels Cline: guitar; Stomu Takeishi: bass; Ches Smith: drums.
- Entity by Karl Ackermann
June 7, 2020
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