3

Gato Libre: Forever

Dave Wayne By

Sign in to view read count
Gato Libre: Forever Gato Libre is the most unexpected manifestation of the multifaceted collaboration between trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii. This understated quartet of bass, acoustic guitar, trumpet and accordion creates a sound world that is totally unique: serene, atmospheric, and seemingly contrary to the duo's other collaborative musical ventures. Gato Libre's music isn't a fusion or cross-cultural adventure, though it seems to have started out that way. Instead, Tamura, Fujii and their colleagues have devised a music that exists sui generis. At various times, Forever recalls the work of early 20th Century composers, particularly Erik Satie and Béla Bartók, French bal-musette, gypsy jazz, and, in its darkest moments, the 1980s Belgian Darkwave, as exemplified by the earliest recordings of groups such as Art Zoyd and Univers Zero. These resemblances, it must be stressed, are completely unintentional.

Tamura is the chief creative force behind the group. Most of the compositions on Forever have a central, Satie-like melodic kernel with bridges and solo sections that radiate outwards like ripples on a pool of still water where a stone has been dropped. Tamura's pieces turn from tuneful consonance to extreme dissonance and slowly back, governed by an inscrutable logic. Moderate-to-slow tempos dominate, yet Tamura clearly loves the use of rhythm to build tension— "Court" and "Japan" are hung on heavily syncopated, oddly accented guitar, bass, and accordion parts. Though every track on Forever has a solo or two, the improvisations themselves tend to be understated and spacious, proceeding at a pace that is both unworried and unhurried.

Throughout, Tamura plays his trumpet open, without mutes. Forever's live recording does no favors for Tamura's bold, bright sound, yet his direct, lyrical approach more than offsets the unflattering room sound. His solo on "Moor" is both deliberate and beautifully constructed. His finest moment on Forever comes during "Hokkaido," where he wanders quixotically over a series of bass and accordion drones, building slowly to a fever pitch before releasing his grip to make way for a lovely guitar-bass dialogue.

Though Fujii's accordion playing seemed tentative on the quartet's first couple of recordings, her playing has become increasingly bold and stylized, taking cues from the likes of Pauline Oliveros and Guy Klucevsek. She revels in the instrument's unique properties and sound possibilities on the stormily dissonant "Nishiogi," approaching the accordion as a wind instrument, wringing out long sustained tones whose trajectories she alters mid-flight. Most of Gato Libre's jazz content comes courtesy of the fluid, limber guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura, who solos most effusively on "Moor" and "Hokkaido." Bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu, who tragically died shortly after this recording, maintains a Charlie Haden-like presence, anchoring the trio of high-pitched instruments with deep, earthy tones. His arco solos on "Waseda" and "World" are wonderful—pitch perfect and horn-like in their articulation and mobility.

Forever is yet another strangely beautiful and spellbinding creation from two of the most significant musicians in the world today.


Track Listing: Moor; Court; Hokkaido; Waseda; Nishiogi; Japan; World; Forever.

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

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Libra Records


Shop

  • DuDu
    DuDu
    Gato Libre
    DuDu
CD/LP/Track Review
  • DuDu by Alberto Bazzurro
DVD/Film Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Kuro
Centro De La Cultura Popular Canaria
2008
buy
Nomad
Centro De La Cultura Popular Canaria
2006
buy
Jan Garbarek Jan Garbarek
sax, tenor
Satoko Fujii Satoko Fujii
piano
Corey Wilkes Corey Wilkes
trumpet
Mat Maneri Mat Maneri
viola
Fred Frith Fred Frith
guitar
Adam Rudolph Adam Rudolph
percussion
Chris Byars Chris Byars
saxophone

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Kjølvatn" CD/LP/Track Review Kjølvatn
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 25, 2016
Read "Forage" CD/LP/Track Review Forage
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read "Marianne" CD/LP/Track Review Marianne
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Kirkastus" CD/LP/Track Review Kirkastus
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 28, 2016
Read "Out On The Coast" CD/LP/Track Review Out On The Coast
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Sanjay Divecha and Secret" CD/LP/Track Review Sanjay Divecha and Secret
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!