This album is a bit unusual for trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and his group Gato Libre. While many of his other recordings are in a free jazz modenotably as an accompanist for his wife, pianist Satoko FujiiKuro seems largely intent in showing a varying picture of Tamura's musical scope.
Fujii forgoes her usual piano for accordion on Kuro.On the opening "Sunny Spot," she provides a tandem accompaniment with guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura that enhances this otherwise attractive melody. There is also a hint of ambient music dropped on this track. The following "Patrol" sounds like a European folk tune, and again the combination of accordion and guitar provides a cushion for Tamura's trumpet. "Battle" is just that: a six-minute-plus track rife with squeals, honks and other musical tools of the avant-garde. Looking at the liner notes provides an explanation that "Battle" is merely "a tense, if at times whimsical, mélange of an actual story of conflict, resolution and transcendence...." On further listens, a more typical response might be to reach for ear plugs.
However, there is peace and tranquility ahead with "Reconcile." On several tracks, Fujii's accordion and Tsumura's guitar enter flamenco and tango territory, in which the accordion approximates the Argentinean bandoneon. Tamura offers up one more avant-garde piece with "Beyond," and finally concludes with "Kuro," a tune of melody and serenity.
This is a curious album, offering a varied menu of musical ports of call from around the world, and is not afraid to display the group's affinity for free jazz.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.