Exposé Online banner

Satoko Fujii Orchestra East — Before the Dawn
(Natsat MTCJ-3010, 2003, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2004-04-01

Before the Dawn Cover art

Reviewing this CD for a magazine like Exposé is a bit of a challenge. On the one hand, it could be described as modern big-band jazz, and is certainly being marketed (if the term marketing can be applied to such a release) that way. Pianist Fujii’s Orchestra can be seen as fitting into the history of large jazz ensembles, looking forward to undreamed possibilities rather than back at the traditional roots of the form. But as a listener coming at it from a primarily rock background, Before the Dawn appears in another guise, as the logical extension of the spirit of Soft Machine’s Third applied to a larger number of musicians, with a fair amount of improvisation, an appreciation for a good groove, one foot in rock and the other in jazz. Working with a palette of five saxes, four trumpets, three trombones, bass, drums, and her own piano, Fujii manages the impressive task of balancing composition with improvisation, so the listener could almost believe that these fifteen players are all improvising, and just happen upon the same tonalities and rhythms by coincidence and knowing each other so well. The tempos range from floating freedom to fast intensity, and a solid rocking beat is as likely as a hyperactive bebop swing. The lengthy tracks were recorded live, and are more like suites than extensions of smaller pieces: the sections vary widely in style and refuse any simple structure.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 29, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): Satoko Fujii, Hiroshi Fukumura, Natsuki Tamura

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Neil Haverstick - If the Earth Was a Woman – Haverstick is a pioneering guitarist, known for his work in microtonal scales. The two previous releases we have reviewed in these pages — Acoustic Stick (n.18, p.50), and Other Worlds (n.20, p.48)...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues