Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

2

Gato Libre: Neko

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's Gato Libre could now be called Gato Diferente. The group's lineup changed five albums into its journey, after the release of Forever (Libra Records, 2011), with the death of bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu. And changed again with the addition—after Norikatsu's passing—of trombonist Yasuko Kaneko. Then, in 2015, the group's guitarist, Kazuhiko Tsumura passed, leaving Tamura and Satoko Fujii—who plays accordion in the group, rather than her more customary piano—and the leader, Tamura, as the sole original members of the group. Trombonist Kaneko remained, but the question was—for the second time in the groups life: Will we carry on?

The release of Neko says "Yes? But the free cat has changed.

From their beginning, with the release of Strange Village (Muzak, 2005) through 2014's DuDu, Gato Libre has embraced European folk moods in their music, sounds that conjure images of sidewalk cafe's, sun dappled canals, a blanket spread on the meadow grass, with a bottle of wine and a vase of flowers sitting on a tray amidst the wildflowers. Life-affirming sounds, a southern Europe of the romance languages. Neko seems leave the continent all together, or perhaps it just packed up its mood and moved north, into the land of grey clouds and cathedrals, of stately, foreboding castles, with Fujii's accordion having often a church organ feeling.

Tamura, a master of extended techniques, plays it mostly straight here, showcasing his beautiful tone. That's the way he's always rolled with Gato Libre. Kaneko's trombone lays the foundation, dense and melancholy; and Fujii's accordion work paints droning washes of sound that give the music a sacred tint. And then, on "Hime," there's Tamura's understated Daffy Duck calls and Kaneko's subtle sea lion groans floating into Fuji's divine sacramental sigh's, a perfect example of bumping the ridiculous up against the sublime.

For the most part, Gato Libre sounds sad, subdued, as if it's mourning in beautifully healing way. As free as ever, but more pensive and measured in its approach.

Track Listing: Tama; Momo; Mii; Hime; Yuzu; Tora.

Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Satyoko Fujii: accordion; Yasuko Kaneko: trombone.

Title: Neko | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Libra Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
  • Neko by Dan McClenaghan
Read more articles
Neko

Neko

Libra Records
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019
Read Pulcino Album Reviews
Pulcino
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 22, 2019
Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019