Gato Libre: Nomad (2007)
This is impressionism at its best. We can follow the quartet as it delivers a folk dance that rehearses its steps slowly, builds to a rapid and sweaty pace that almost reaches havoc through the excitement of dancing, and then closes with a somber reminder of the culture behind the music. Tamura's impressions aren't obvious, however. They leave much to the creative imagination of the listener.
Accordion, acoustic guitar and acoustic bass make perfect companions for a program of folk music interpreted by creative people. Each lovely melody receives substantial improvisation from Gato Libre, an organization designed to speak of freedom. There are few things as pleasurable to a musician as weaving improvised melodies throughout a lazy afternoon with the freedom to explore them casually. Naturally, this concert gives his audience a reflection similar to that of the artists.
Tamura has thought of all the expected stereotypes. We, of a television generation, cannot help that. Incorporated into his impressions are majestic Spanish elements of Barcelona and Madrid, a lively mad dance in Glasgow, a gentle blues in Paris, gypsy high-stepping in Budapest, ice skating during Lausanne's brisk January, and a holy prayer for October's Venice.
Each selection comes with soul. Tamura's trumpet soars with quiet melodies that rise above his accompaniment with majesty and poise. As he slides fluidly from the upper register down and back with ease, he leaves a graceful impression. Gato Libre's session is not only easy on the ears and the mind, it's a refreshing trip that challenges the intellect and asks for repeated listening.
Track Listing: In Krakow, In November; In Glasgow, In May; In Paris, In February; In Barcelona, In June; In Madrid, In August; In Berlin, In September; In Budapest, In April; In Lausanne, In January; In Gent, In December; In Venice, In October.
Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Kazuhiko Tsumura: acoustic guitar; Satoko Fujii: accordion; Norikatsu Koreyasu: bass.
Record Label: No Man's Land Records
Style: Fringes of Jazz