May 28, 2024

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Interview with Satoko Fujii: For me, making music is life itself: Video

Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if pianist Satoko Fujii. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Satoko Fujii: – I was born in Tokyo. I was very shy so I stayed home with my mother all day long. She is a music lover and we listened to music together.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the piano? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the piano?

SF: – I have a older sister who started taking piano lessons when I was one year old. So we had a piano at home. I improvised with piano even before I started taking piano lesson. Since I was very shy I didn’t want to go to Kindergarten. My parents put me in piano lessons because they thought it is better to have some social connect instead of spending all day long in the home. I studied classical piano with some teachers until I got 20 years old. My last classical teacher was Koji Taku who was important in Japanese classical music but also loved Jazz music. I started to be interested in Jazz because of him. He was important in classical world and was at the best position of the Japanese best art and music college, but he quite it because he wanted to play Jazz in some cabaret. I was so influenced by his life. I was teenager and he was different from other adult who just care about the position of the society. I have got big influence from him. I studied Jazz piano with Japanese jazz pianist Fumio Itabashi, and in America with Paul Bley who I have got biggest influence.

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

SF: – I studied both in Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. I wanted Jazz pianist while I was in Berklee so I tried to play like some Jazz Giant, like Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner…etc. After then I went to New England Conservatory where I studied with Paul Bley. He encouraged me to play my own music that is different from other musicians. I started listening to my voice and developed my style.

JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

SF: – When I practice, the first thing I do in composing. I spend 15 minutes to compose something. And then I play my repertories. My compositions are kind of complicating to play so playing them help my skill especially complicating meter and rhythm. Other than that, I use “Thesaurus” for mechanical finer training and getting some idea of the scale.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?

SF: – I like any harmonies that work in the context. Sometimes I use very simple two notes to make a chords or some simple triad. I don’t want limit myself so I try to make myself open for any chords.

JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

SF: – I like having both in my music, but I don’t try something special for it. I just make music sounds good.

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

SF: – All performances have each story. It is kind of difficult to pick one. One of the concert I remember was in Kyoto where we played in small jazz club. My husband, Natsuki’s mother who already was over 93 years old came to the concert and said “Your two are getting better and better” She passed away in 2016, but she always encourage us.

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

SF: – I think the most interesting thing with Jazz is improvisation. It doesn’t matter what piece we play, we just make something good from out of it.

JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

SF: – I cannot imagine my life without music. For me, making music is life itself.

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

SF: – You tell me what it would be.

JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

SF: – I listened to some European improvised music today.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

SF: – I would like to travel to future, probably 200 years later.

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

SF: – Please let me know how you found me!

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. And you are so unfamiliar to the jazz world that it is difficult to find you? If so, it’s bad for you. At least your CD’s are unfamiliar to the rabble …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Satoko Fujii

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