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Natsuki Tamura: Ko Ko Ko Ke

Jim Santella By

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Free improvisation. It means spontaneous art: whatever comes to mind, without preconceived restrictions. The performance must, therefore, take on a natural feeling and flow from deep within.

Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura chants with a purpose. Sometimes mournful, sometimes as natural as wildlife in a meadow, he lets his feelings take over. His solo trumpet passages wander about and leave spaces in between. Vocal chant and trumpet phrases complement one another and serve to punctuate the performance. Hence, his program is served up in small portions.

Most of the session remains free from associations. There are several, however, which do carry definite impressions. “Mekinaka” and “Guta” appear religious, as the artist chants slowly with deep passion. “Shamisen,” a brief vocal number, allows Tamura to imitate the sound of a three-stringed lute. “Taiko” relates rhythmic concepts vocally, as a teacher would portray them to his or her students. “Ko Ko Ko Ke” appears as the most natural of the set. Say that title aloud several times, and what do you hear? Try it again, at a moderately fast tempo.

Any solo album, free or not, requires that the artist get real personal in his or her delivery. As evidenced by his past performances, Tamura has never had a problem with that. His mournful trumpet tone is unique. His interpretations are always musically correct. The listener does not have to cope with distractions.

What the artist has done with this album is to reflect on his inner feelings and let the ideas flow naturally. Tamura has been influenced by a lifetime of exposure to traditional folk songs, as well as to modern musical concepts. With Ko Ko Ko Ke, he lets both branches flow into one river—a river of creativity.

Track Listing: Mekinaka; Peng; Nettara Mottara; Tahi Tahi; Shamisen; Kogena Agena; Ko Ko Ko Ke; Honamesa; Pasurija; Taiko; Guta; Epura; Syste; Samidare.

Personnel: Natsuki Tamura- trumpet, vocal.

Title: Ko Ko Ko Ke | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: NatSat Music

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