Japanese trumpeter and composer NATSUKI TAMURA splits his active performing career between his homeland and the United States. Internationally recognized for his ability to blend a unique vocabulary of extended techniques with touching jazz lyricism, Tamura has been compared to players as diverse as Lester Bowie, Miles Davis, and Freddie Hubbard, with “chops that would make Louis Armstrong jealous.” ? Improvijazzation Nation.
His appearances at festivals worldwide include a solo trumpet performance at the 1998 Texaco New York Jazz Festival, as well as appearances at Newport Jazz in Madarao, Festival of New Trumpet Music at Tonic in NYC, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Japan Jazz Aid, Yamaha Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Yokohama Jazz, Yatsugatake Jazz, Kobe Jazz, Hibiya Jazz, Moers Festival in Germany, and the first annual San Francisco Alternative Music Festival. Club dates include the Knitting Factory, the Stone and Tonic in New York; the Carnival Jazz Club, Babel 2nd, and Pit Inn in Tokyo; Bimhuis in Amsterdam, the Painted Bride in Philadelphia; and Airgin in Yokohama, among many others. In addition to performing with his own group, Tamura has performed with Satoko Fujii, Orkestrova, Jimmy Weinstein, Misha Mengelberg, and Angelo Verploegen, Larry Ochs, Chris Brown, and Ninh among many others. In addition, Tamura has appeared on numerous Japanese recordings. He has recorded seven discs with the New Herd Orchestra, and has also been featured on recordings by the Juggernaut Big Band, and the Music Magic Orchestra.
Born on July 26, 1951 in Otsu, Shiga, Japan, Tamura first picked up the trumpet while performing in his junior high brass band. He began his professional music career after he graduated from high school, playing in numerous bands including the World Sharps Orchestra, Consolation, Skyliners Orchestra, New Herd Orchestra, Music Magic Orchestra, and the Satoko Fujii Ensemble, as well as in his own ensemble. He was the trumpeter for numerous national television shows in Japan from 1973?1982, including The Best Ten, Music Fair, Kirameku Rhythm and many others.
In 1986, he came to the United States to study at Berklee College of Music. He then returned to his native Japan to perform and teach at the Yamaha Popular Music School and at private trumpet studios in Tokyo and Saitama, before coming back to the US to study at the New England Conservatory of Music.
In 1990 Tamura led his quartet on Tobifudo, and in 1997 he released the duo album How Many?, with pianist Satoko Fujii. His stunning solo trumpet release A Song for Jyaki (Leo Records, 1998) earned a Writers Choice 1998 in Coda magazine, and Rick Marx in Jazz Central Station hailed it as “A potent mix of passion and calculated madness, with Tamura’s plaintive horn cry somewhere between a blast and a bleat. Tamura initiates a solo statement that is in the great tradition of original musical storytellers...his music magically captures the sounds of nature.” Andy Bartlett wrote in Coda: “A fabulous set of hiccuping leaps, drones and post-bop trumpet hi-jinx. Tamura goes from growling lows to fluid, free solo runs and echoes not only Don Cherry's slurring anti-virtuosic chops but also Kenny Wheeler's piercing highwire fullness.”