by Karl Ackermann
Any new release from Gato Libre is a welcome event and sure to be a transcendent musical journey of simple sophistication in an unconventional structure. Neko is all those things but with the added, palpable emotion driven by a sense of loss that the group has endured yet again. Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and life partner, pianist, and accordionist Satoko Fujii have been the mainstays of the groups since its 2005 debut, Strange Village (Muzak Inc). The original quartet included bassist ...read more
by Dave Wayne
Gato Libre is the most unexpected manifestation of the multifaceted collaboration between trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii. This understated quartet of bass, acoustic guitar, trumpet and accordion creates a sound world that is totally unique: serene, atmospheric, and seemingly contrary to the duo's other collaborative musical ventures. Gato Libre's music isn't a fusion or cross-cultural adventure, though it seems to have started out that way. Instead, Tamura, Fujii and their colleagues have devised a music that exists sui ...read more
by Hrayr Attarian
Innovative trumpeter Natsuki Tamura is a creative artist with a wide repertoire that draws as much from modern improvised music as it does jazz and world folk heritages. Often a key collaborator in wife/pianist Satoko Fujii' inimitable ensembles, he emerges as a leader of the unique quartet Gato Libre on its fifth release, Forever. Tamura's compositions have a strong Spanish flavor and brim with subtle yet robust creative spontaneity. On Moor," the longing sound of Tamura's light ...read more
by Dan McClenaghan
The team of pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura produces a lot of music. More often than not, it's Fujii in the leader's chair, in one of her numerous big bands, quartets, trios or in duo outings with Tamura. By normal standards--that is, not in comparison with Fujii--Tamura's output as a leader could be considered rather busy. Though he claims to be lazy in the liner notes of his group Gato Libre's Shiro (Libra Records, 2009), since 2005 he ...read more
by Raul d'Gama Rose
The elemental sadness of Natsuki Tamura's trumpet, as it ascends the temperate scale he has created in Dune and Star," defines the desolate beauty of Shiro, the fourth album from duo-turned-quartet, Gato Libre. Tamura also evokes the soft colors and textures of dawn, dusk, and the time in between, as if it has been caught in a frieze. His horn--and the manner in which he paces himself on it--recalls Miles Davis' memorable collaborations with Gil Evans. Davis eventually turned his ...read more
by Jim Santella
Natsuki Tamura's lyrical and subdued Gato Libre group wanders like a nomad through various parts of the world, capturing the essence of folk music and interpreting it through a jazz frame of reference. It's beautiful, acoustic music, and it's evidence of the trumpeter's creative power.
This is impressionism at its best. We can follow the quartet as it delivers a folk dance that rehearses its steps slowly, builds to a rapid and sweaty pace that almost reaches havoc ...read more
by Jerry D'Souza
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 ...read more