Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Natsuki Tamura / Elliott Sharp / Hideki Kato / Satoko Fu...

178

Natsuki Tamura / Elliott Sharp / Hideki Kato / Satoko Fujii: In The Tank

By

Sign in to view read count
Natsuki Tamura / Elliott Sharp / Hideki Kato / Satoko Fujii: In The Tank
Live concerts strive for a transcendent quality that can never be translated into CD form. This is especially true for free improvisation, and In the Tank is archetypical of this fact. Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), Elliott Sharp (soprano sax and guitar), Takayuki Kato (guitar) and Satoko Fujii (piano) recorded this concert in 2001 in Japan. The uncomfortable stillness of the record begs the question: who went to this concert, and was it worth it?

In the Tank is often hazy, incoherent, chaotic and aimless—all the things (and more) that are really best understood when the musicians are right in front of you. Often during a live concert, the musicians' facial expressions, the frustration in their creased brows, the fumbling fingers struggling to let the notes flow, and the shared glances are even more important to the music than the notes themselves.

Because In the Tank falls under the category of a live recording as well as an avant-garde project, it has a natural inclination to leave its listener in the dark. Moreover, with no drummer present, it is difficult to grasp the themes and goals being sought by the quartet. Yet, once you latch on to the periodic beat of the gonging bells in "Crowing Crab or the steadying hand on the piano harmonies in "Flying Jellyfish, the musicians' strategies start to emerge. Actually, their ideas are more like quicksand—every time you manage to figure out what the ensemble is trying to do, they sink back into their hidden recesses, leaving you in limbo.

The recording consists mostly of bizarre noises that often reverberate throughout, presenting themselves in different textures. Coins and other unknown objects clang to the floor, and metal springs are snapped back like rubber bands. Strange, mysterious electric drips and drops permeate through the quicksand, while a plucked guitar (Sharp/Kato) and a tinny saxophone (Sharp) give the music momentary stability. Still, the quicksand submerges in itself again, and the noise comes back. The noise is quiet, far into the distance, but it's there and it stands out even more than Fujii's swaggering piano chords and Tamura's whining trumpet vibrato.

Perhaps the album cover best conveys the texture of the recording: a pair of cartoon characters stare at a giant discolored shrimp lying in a white, plastic tub with a tarot card off in the corner. Like the cover, the music is surreal and unsettling. And no matter how hard you look, you will never figure out how or why the shrimp is in that tub.

Track Listing

Walking Squid; Flying Jellyfish; Sinking Shrimp; Crowing Crab.

Personnel

Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Elliott Sharp: soprano saxophone, guitar; Takayuki Kato: guitar; Satoko Fujii: piano.

Album information

Title: In The Tank | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Libra Records


Next >
Feuchtify

Comments

Tags


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Near

More

Precipice
Ill Considered
My Prophet
Oded Tzur
Hearts of Palm
Eden Har-Gil

Popular

For Real!
Hampton Hawes
My Prophet
Oded Tzur
Nimble Digits
Geoff Stradling
Time Again
Koppel, Blade, Koppel

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.