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Gato Libre: Strange Village (2005)

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Gato Libre: Strange Village How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Capturing the essence of folk music, Natsuki Tamura creates an acoustic session on Strange Village that lets him tell the stories vividly and completely. Through open trumpet, guitar, bass, and accordion, he communicates tales that stir the imagination and let the listener interpret accordingly. Each tale comes with rounded textures that belie humble surroundings where people know that they can feel at home. Slowly and deliberately, the music walks you through the streets and welcomes you with open arms.

Tamura's soulful trumpet opens wide as he improvises over pretty melodies. He emphasizes passion without being overbearing about it. The focus for the album remains its casual four-part message that roams free as a bird (or cat). Each artist pours heartfelt emotion into the cauldron that represents Tamura's tale, and the mixture heats up from within.

Stress? This village has none. Its music simmers peacefully on the shoulders of Tamura's open horn, Satoko Fujii's soothing accordion, Kazuhiko Tsumura's crystal-clear guitar, and Norikatsu Koreyasu's proud bass. Together, they create a picture of serenity and unity. Celebrations come and go as the quartet explores free jazz with timeless sonority.

"Dance" stirs the pot with anxious passion, while "Dreaming a Lot" settles in comfortably with mellow tones. "Morning Mist" and "Gentle Journey" remain calm and placid, while undercurrents of conversation give the listener volumes of information to consider.

Gato Libre's free association over timeless textural territory gives this highly recommended album a warm embrace. Tamura's open trumpet seals it. His quartet has found a formula that connects the music of our ancestors with the freedom that we enjoy in today's modern society.

Track Listing: Morning Mist; Gentle Journey; Strange Village; Welcome Party; Dialogue; Dance; Dreaming a Lot; Then, Normal Life; Journey Again; Wasteland of Peat.

Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Kazuhiko Tsumura: acoustic guitar; Satoko Fujii: accordion; Norikatsu Koreyasu: acoustic bass.

Record Label: Muzak

Style: Modern Jazz


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