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Satoko Fujii: April Shower

Playing “outside” jazz clearly involves a commitment on the part of the performer, and asks a similar commitment of the listener. The performer must run to expressing the moment, even when the moment runs counter to style and technique. Such openness makes it easier for the listener to integrate the musical experience; it also grants license to a broader range of experiment.

Such range is evident in pianist Satoko Fujii’s multifaceted spate of releases. One hears in her playing the influence of Paul Bley, with whom she has studied and recorded, but animated to a much higher degree, with ferocity that arcs toward Cecil Taylor. What is impressive in these performances is the degree to which Fujii accommodates her collaborators, in terms of composition and approach. The contemplative nature of her work with violinist Mark Feldman, on April Shower, is characteristic: composition and improvisation merge seamlessly, leaving the impression of works as studied and scrupulous as those of, say, Berg, but with the lightness and freedom of freshly minted inspiration. This is the placid pool among these sessions.

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