Album Review

Fujii, Satoko Orchestra – “Zakopane” – [Jasrac]

abacus   8/3/2011   CD, Jazz

One more piece from the Satoko Fujii Orchestra, led by prolific Japanese composer/pianist Satoko Fujii. While she doesn’t appear here on her instrument her compositions drive this album and fill all viable earspace beyond comprehension. Fiercely orchestrated, very cinematic, horn-heavy fanfares rife with the typical Japanese virtuosic chops and technique punctuated by unflinching stop-start emphases and some aimlessly searching melodic escapades. Seemlessly blended jazz, rock, funk, soul, and avant-garde garnished with a hint of 70s movie/TV soundtracks, Fujii excels at playful, almost campy storytelling that instills constant intrigue with colorful, though-provoking use of timbre, layering and structure. Great introduction to big band jazz from any background.

2 – A matador meets his maker and is transported to a soulful 70s funk fusion dance party

4 – Jungle travellers exchange tragic love stories amongst sleeping creatures of all species

5 – Bari sax descends to madness and gives way to a Charlie Brown bassline, strolling through Harlem

6 – Bowed bass improvisations -> headbanging Bailey-esque guitar solo ->psych-rock jamout -> smoky/grimy burlesque jazz club

8 – Winter wind blowing through cedars to a wounded cheetahs wandering the savannah closing with soulful 70s family sitcom theme song


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