Pianist and composer Satoko Fujii has performed at clubs and festivals throughout the world, including the 1998 Texaco New York Jazz Festival and the Yokohama Promenade Jazz Festival '98 and '99. In addition, she was invited by the Japan Foundation to do a solo performance at the 1999 Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival and, in March of 2000, Fujii performed as part of the 300th Anniversary of the Piano Concert Series at The Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC). In 2000 she was honored by the Jazz Journalists Association with a nomination for "Composer of the Year." Her powerful playing has been compared to that of Cecil Taylor, Keith Jarrett and Don Pullen and earned her a designation as "tigress at the keyboard" from magazine "Face."
Fujii has released more than a dozen CDs as a leader so far. Her trio album "Toward, 'To West'" (ENJ-9382 2) with Mark Dresser and Jim Black was voted among "The Year's Best Jazz Top 10" (Philadelphia CityPaper). Glenn Astarita (All About Jazz) wrote: "Her most substantial and musically rewarding small group outing to date... Beside all of the purposeful soloing, sinuous flow and hard-edged musings, Ms. Fujii injects a potpourri of underlying themes and fluctuating cross-currents into her music... Highly recommended. *****."
On "The Future Of The Past" Fujii returns to the orchestra format whose earlier outings gained her ravished reviews and were voted among the year's top ten albums by critics of Swing Journal, Coda and Cadence. With the help of crack players from the more adventurous part of the New York scene (e.g. Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby, Briggan Krauss, Steven Bernstein), the Japanese piano lady shows her outstanding skills as a composer and leader in a handful of new big band inventions that bribe with surprising twists and turns, grandiose orchestrations, lyricism and humour. A balancing act between explosive improvisation and controlled material, this orchestral music radiates visionary intensity. Although Fujii's approach to the large format makes use of a traditional big band instrumentation, the sound and expression are unique and simply sensational.
Oscar Noriega, Briggan Krauss, Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby, Andy Laster: saxophones; Natsuki Tamura, Herb Robertson, Steven Bernstein, Laurie Frink: trumpets; Curtis Hasselbring, Joey Sellers, Joe Fiedler: trombones; Satoko Fujii: piano; Stomu Takeishi: bass; Aaron Alexander: drums