Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin – Ninety-Nine Years (2018)

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Berlin

Satoko Fujii - piano
Lina Allemano - trumpet 
Natsuki Tamura - trumpet
Richard Koch - trumpet
Gebhard Ullmann - tenor saxophone
Matthias Schubert - tenor saxophone
Paulina Owczarek - baritone saxophone

Matthias Müller - trombone
Jan Roder - bass
Michael Griener - drums
Peter Orins - drums

Ninety-Nine Years

LIBRA 211-047

By Adam Baruch

This is an album by Japanese pianist / composer / bandleader Satoko Fujii, one of the most prominent representatives of the contemporary Avant-Garde Jazz activists. The album was recorded with an eleven piece Orchestra Berlin, one of Fujii's permanent ensembles, which features mostly German musicians, but includes also her Japanese husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, French drummer Peter Orins and Polish saxophonist Paulina Owczarek. The album presents five extended original orchestral compositions, all by Fujii and is one of the twelve albums Fujii released in 2018 (one every month) to celebrate her 60th Birthday. Her cumulating discography since 1991 includes well over a hundred albums.

The music is everything contemporary Avant-Garde Big Band has to offer: composed parts expanded into lengthy improvised passages, several sub-ensembles constantly developing within the frame of the Big Band (duos, trios, etc.) sublime individual soloing and group improvisations and much more.

Fujii skillfully uses the entire arsenal at her disposal to continue the splendid tradition of European Avant-Garde Big Bands, which goes several decades into the past, initiated by the British Big Bands led by Barry Guy, Mike Westbrook and others and later European parallels like Globe Unity Orchestra and others. Since contemporary activity in this particular area is rather limited today, Fujii's recordings are even more important and significant.

Of course Avant-Garde Jazz never was music for the masses, and this intellectually challenging offering is of interest to a sadly miniscule group of potential listeners, who are able to appreciate and enjoy it. The faithful aficionados will find this music absolutely stunning of course, which is hardly surprising. Wholeheartedly recommended to the connoisseurs of the genre!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...