Satoko Fujii Enlists All-Star Band To Record 100th album


​Longtime friends and new ones will join Fujii on an upcoming concert recording to be released Dec. 9 via Libra Records.

(Photo: Kosuke Okahara)

Pianist and composer Satoko Fujii has assembled an all-star band to record her 100th album live in concert on Sept. 20 at Cary Hall in New York’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music.

Longtime friends and new ones will join Fujii for Hyaku: One Hundred Dreams, including trumpeters Wadada Leo Smith and Natsuki Tamura, tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck, electronics artist Ikue Mori, bassist Brandon Lopez and drummers Tom Rainey and Chris Corsano. The recording, which will be released Dec. 9 via Libra Records, is made possible through a grant from the Robert D. Bielicki Foundation.

Fujii has always had a knack for celebrating career landmarks in style. In 2008, she marked her 50th birthday year by releasing a half dozen CDs. A decade later, she doubled that output, releasing a new CD each month for a year in celebration of her 60th birthday. In 2006, as her composing for large ensembles surged, she marked the development in her career with the simultaneous release of four big band albums, each by a different group. She celebrated the 20th anniversary of her Libra Records label in 2017 with 12 solo concerts around the world. And she has weathered the recent COVID pandemic with an outpouring of music recorded in her home studio and remotely via the internet.

Since her recording debut as a leader — the 1996 CD Something About Water, on which she was joined by pianist Paul Bley — Fujii has been prolific. Over the course of 26 years, she has released albums under her own name with a wide range of bands. Among them are seven CDs with a trio featuring bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black; five albums by her electrifying avant-rock quartet featuring drummer Tatsuya Yoshida of The Ruins; eight solo CDs; and eight duets with her husband and creative partner, Natsuki Tamura. Fully one-fifth of her recorded output — more than 20 albums — features her compositions for large ensemble. She has also done more intriguing work with ad-hoc bands such as the one she’s put together for her 100th CD celebration.

The Sept. 20 concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information, click here. DB

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