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Natsuki Tamura & Jim Black: NatJim

Natsuki Tamura & Jim Black: NatJim
Few albums capture the sheer joy of music-making as vividly as NatJim, the first duo recording from trumpeter-composer Natsuki Tamura and drummer Jim Black in over a quarter century. This avant-garde jazz session is a spirited reunion, highlighting their exceptional synergy and limitless creativity. The artists have previously collaborated on two albums led by eminent pianist-composer Satoko Fujii's Four, among others.

Tamura, a globetrotting trumpeter since his initial U.S. visit in 1986, infuses the presentation with his powerful, free-spirited trumpet playing. Meanwhile, Black, a pivotal figure in New York's downtown scene during the 1990s amid his dates as a leader and A-list status within the global progressive jazz scene, melds jazz, avant-rock and punk with his drumming, demonstrating his dynamic presence and versatility.

The festivities start with "Morning City," where Tamura's trumpet and Black's drums partake in an animated exchange. Their re-modulated phrasings paint a kaleidoscope of musical imagination. "City of Night" emerges as a highlight, with its startling, dense and edgy display of creativity, marked by Tamura's muted wah- wah tones and engaging call-and-response interactions with Black. From unaccompanied solos, the piece evolves into expansive lyricism with ever-shifting tone colors, as the duo fearlessly push the limits of their instruments.

Even at their most rampant, an underlying coherence and narrative logic tie together their real-time creations. Clocking in at just under 50 minutes, this set distills the essence of two seasoned musicians reacting instinctively, soaring to new collaborative heights. Whether it is Black's vigorous, thunderous drumming or Tamura's crisp, soul-stirring trumpet on "Quiet City," or the intense, raspy urgency of Tamura's playing interspersed with Black's forceful beats on "Noisy City," their connection is unmistakable. And they have mastered the art of slowing down to a crawl only to rev back up with renewed vigor.

NatJim is a celebration of the enduring magic of collaboration, where musical boundaries melt away and the thrill of creation takes the spotlight. The seasoned avant-garde pioneers have delivered a vivid, mesmerizing album filled with unfettered spontaneity and raw creative power. This is improvisational music at its most expansive and viscerally affecting—a deep-listening experience that captivates the senses and moves the soul. Fortunately, the duo keep each piece concise, under nine minutes, avoiding overly long improvisations where excess might overshadow the content.

Track Listing

Morning City; Afternoon City; City of Dusk; City of Night; Quiet City; Noisy City; Calm City; Bright City; Bonus.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Natuski Tamura: voice.

Album information

Title: NatJim | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Libra Records


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