The New Echo of Jazz Music: Satoko Fujii Echo Bearer

Written By Sonny Akbar Sembada

Hi, my name is Sonny Akbar Sembada and I welcome you to my blog, The Uncle Jazz. The main topic of my blog is everything related to jazz music.. 

The new echo of jazz music – Satoko Fujii, the piano wizard, is making waves in two spots: New York and Tokyo. She’s juggling gigs, hitting the jazz scene, and laying down tracks in studios.

The new echo of jazz music Fujii’s getting kudos for her musical mash-ups, blending jazz with traditional Japanese and contemporary classical vibes. Her game is strong, and folks are saying she’s in the league of jazz heavyweights like Cecil Taylor, Keith Jarrett, and more.

The New Echo of Jazz Music: Satoko Fujii

Leading a band? People say she’s right up there with George Russell. Oh, and she’s dropped eleven albums as a leader or co-leader – no biggie.

Jazz Adventures Worldwide

The new echo of jazz music. She’s all over the jazz map, playing in clubs and festivals worldwide. From the Texaco New York Jazz Festival to spots in Tokyo and Yokohama, she’s making a splash. In ’99, the Japan Foundation hooked her up for a solo gig at the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival.

Last year, she brought the jazz vibes to the Smithsonian Institution’s piano concert celebration in DC. And guess what? Her albums make it to the top ten lists of jazz critics – the Best CDs of the Year. In 2000, she snagged the Composer of the Year nomination from The Journalists Association’s Jazz Award. That’s big league – alongside jazz legends like Andrew Hill, Chick Corea, and more.

Read also: Grammy Winning Jazz Guitarist: Mark Whitfield

Early Days and What Fired Her Up

The new echo of jazz music Fujii kicked off the piano game at four, rocking the classical scene till she hit eleven. But then, improvisation got tricky. So, she took a break, formed a band where they only clapped and sang, exploring the roots of music.

A year later, she was back, this time diving into jazz improvisation and tickling the ivories again. Inspired by her teacher Koji Taku and jazz pianist Fumio Itabashi, she took jazz to the next level. To focus on jazz, she had to bounce from home and hustle by renting a piano spot.

Early Days and What Fired Her Up
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U.S. Journey and School Days

Her U.S. journey kicked off in ’85 with a Berklee College of Music scholarship. She learned from the greats – Herb Pomeroy and Bill Pierce. Graduating in ’87 with a magna cum laude Music Diploma, she jetted back to Japan, diving into the jazz scene.

She taught at the Yamaha Popular Music School, did the TV music show thing, and laid down tracks for a computer software company. She rolled with Japanese groups like Tobifudo and Teruaki Todo. Her debut? Tobifudo in ’90. ’93 brought her back to the U.S., this time at the New England Conservatory of Music, and she graduated in ’96. George Russell and Paul Bley had her back.

Hit Albums

1. Something About Water (Libra; 1996): A chill duet with Paul Bley.
2. Indication (Libra; 1997): Straight-up solo piano vibes.
3. How Many? (Leo Lab; 1997): Duet action with her hubby on trumpet, Natsuki Tamura.
4. Looking Out Of The Window (Nippon Crown; 1998): Windows down, music up.
5. South Wind (Leo Lab; 1998): A breeze of cool sounds.
6. Kitsune-bi (Tzadik; 1999): Foxfire magic.
7. Past Life (Libra; 1999): Reflecting on the past.
8. Jo (Buzz; 2000): Big band goodness.
9. Double Take (East Works; 2000): More big band magic.
10. Toward To West (Enja; 2000): Heading west with the tunes.
11. April Shower (East Works; 2001): Showers of jazz raining down.

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