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Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii are two of the most daring improvisers in jazz. Their music blasts through unfettered, a brimful of heated animation. But daring can take other courses, and so it is with Gato Libre, Tamura's quartet, which does strange things considering the pedigree that he and Fujii have. They get into folk music, a move that saw its first resolution on the group's Strange Village (Muzak, 2005).
Tamura wrote this music based on the folk idioms of European countries. He gets into the pith of each, never losing sight of the core, to come up with entrancing and captivating compositions. The impact becomes all the more striking through the arrangements, which draw the listener into the translucent fold of the music.
In a setting like this, it is necessary for the musicians to adopt a lyrical approach. They come up trumps, and even when the time comes for improvisation, they seek a controlled revamping of their path. Tamura shows clear articulation as he opens "In Krakow, In November, a trait that is continued by Fujii, who unfurls the accordion like a velvet drape, enriching the melodic tone. The circle is complete when guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura adds the final resonance with some subtle lines.
It is time to kick up the heels and twirl on "In Budapest, In April. This delightful music finds Fujii and Tsumura engaging in a conversation that is required eavesdropping as they delve into the melody and then flesh it with a few asymmetrical lines. It's flamenco time "In Barcelona, In June, the perfect setting for Tsumura, who primes the tune with chunky chords and lithe melody lines. Tamura adds a rich tonality, changing the ambit, his fiery approach a contrast to the cool wafting of the guitar and the arco of Norikatsu Koreyasu's bass. It comes down to a temperate approach as Tamura pulls in and energizes the melody with his rich harmonics.
A well-crafted and endearing recording.
Track Listing: In Krakow, In Novermber; In Glasgow, In May; In Paris, In February; In Barcelona, In June; In
Madrid, In August; In Berlin, In September; In Budapest, In April; In Lausanne, In January; In
Gent, In December; In Venice, In October.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.