Satoko Fujii

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Satoko Fujii
Satoko Fujii photo.jpg
Fujii in San Diego in September 2008.
Background information
Birth nameSatoko Fujii (藤井郷子, Fujii Satoko)
Born (1958-10-09) 9 October 1958 (age 60)
Tokyo, Japan
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsPiano, accordion

Satoko Fujii (藤井郷子, Fujii Satoko, born 9 October 1958) is a Japanese avant-garde jazz pianist, accordionist and composer.

Early life[edit]

Fujii was born in Tokyo on 9 October 1958.[1] She started playing the piano at age 4, receiving classical training until she was 20,[1] when she became interested in improvisation and jazz. In her twenties, she received instruction in jazz from pianist Fumio Itabashi in Tokyo.[2]

Later life and career[edit]

Fujii went to the United States in 1985, graduating from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1987, returning to the US in 1993,[1] achieving a graduate diploma in Jazz Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1996. While at the Conservatory, she also had lessons with pianist Paul Bley, "which consisted largely of conversation over cappuccinos, [and] eased her toward self-expression."[2] In 1996, their duo album, Something About Water, was released; Fujii commented that it was a major event for her: "I started to accept myself, little by little."[2] She returned to Japan with her new husband, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, leader of Gato Libre. She leads various big bands in Japan, such as Orchestra Tokyo. She established Orchestra New York in 1997.[3]

Around 2007, the quartet ma-do was created, consisting of Fujii, Tamura, bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu and drummer Akira Horikoshi.[4] In 2010, Fujii co-founded Kaze, a group containing herself, Tamura, trumpeter Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins.[5] She has played accordion on recordings by the band Gato Libre, including DuDu and Kuro.[6][7]

Fujii has recorded prolifically: between 1996 and 2009 she released more than 40 albums.[3] For 2018, she planned to release an album every month.[2]

Playing style[edit]

The Down Beat reviewer of Under the Water, a piano duet album with Myra Melford, stated that "Fujii varies dynamics widely, jump-cutting from a fierce, free barrage to a sprinkle of single, crystalline notes."[8]


  1. ^ a b c Huey, Steve "Satoko Fujii". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Lutz, Phillip (February 2018). "Divergence Highlights Fujii's Talents". DownBeat. p. 16.
  3. ^ a b Panken, Ted (April 2009) "Satoko Fujii/Natsuki Tamura – Chun". Down Beat. p. 76.
  4. ^ Drouot, Alain (September 2013) "Satoko fujii ma-do – Time Stands Still". Down Beat. p. 59.
  5. ^ Woodard, Josef (August 2015) "Victoriaville Fest Embraces Jazz, Rock & Avant-Garde". Down Beat. p. 17.
  6. ^ Hale, James (September 2008) "Trumpet Blasts". Down Beat. p. 77.
  7. ^ Margasak, Peter (September 2014) "Gato Libre – DuDu". Down Beat. p. 74.
  8. ^ Hale, James (September 2009) "Global Keys". Down Beat. p. 69.

External links[edit]