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Satoko Fujii Tobira: Yamiyo Ni Karasu

Satoko Fujii’s oeuvre is monstrous. The Japanese pianist issues several CDs a year, often in batches of two or three, and in totality they represent nothing if not the very definition of an iconoclastic artist. Her style is free, rough and aggressive, her compositions challenging to both listener and musician. Her new album Yamiyo Ni Karasu “(“the crow in the dark night”), by a sort-of-new quartet called Tobira, mixes occasional flashes of accessibility with her uncompromising vision.

Tobira is actually her New Trio, with bassist Todd Nicholson and drummer Takashi Itani, plus her husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, who often joins the trio onstage as a guest. Here, Fujii formalizes the relationship and renames the group “Tobira,” which is Japanese for both “front door” and “title page.” (“I wanted to open the door to bring some fresh air to the music and keep it from becoming closed,” Fujii writes in the liner notes.)

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