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Gato Libre: DuDu

Read "DuDu" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's quartet Gato Libre has always recorded stimulating, progressive music heavily laced with a Spanish lyricism. DuDu is no exception. “Mouse" is the prime example of this. On it the musicians push far the harmonic boundaries of their respective instruments creating delightfully jarring cacophony intertwined with intensely melodic explorations.Despite the personnel change after bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu's untimely death, the group remains remarkable cohesive. The new recruit, trombonist Yasuko Kaneko brings a warm fluidity to the bottom ...

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Gato Libre: DuDu

Read "DuDu" reviewed by John Sharpe

The fifth album by Gato Libre, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's acoustic quartet, is the first since the sudden death of bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu in 2011. Having thought long and hard about whether to continue, Tamura recruited trombonist Yasuko Kaneko as a replacement. While the European folk music inspiration of previous outings like Shiro (Libra Records, 2009) and Forever (Libra Records, 2012) remains intact, the change has engendered more the feel of a chamber outfit, albeit one at times crossed with a ...

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Gato Libre: DuDu

Read "DuDu" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

There are a lot of high energy, wild and out there sounds screaming around in Natsuki Tamura's discography--the explosively electric Hada Hada (Libra Records, 2002), the sizzling Exit (Libra Records, 2004), and any number of unfettered collaborations with his wife, pianist Satoko Fujii. But his Gato Libre discs are one of the Japanese trumpeter's more laid-back methods of expression. An acoustic quartet that explores European folk themes in a tranquil and occasionally off-center way, the five previous sets by the ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Natsuki Tamura: Dragon Nat

Read "Natsuki Tamura: Dragon Nat" reviewed by Dave Wayne

The instrumentalist begins his career as, essentially, a solo artist. Whether is practicing long tones or scales or drum rudiments, nearly everyone who plays a musical instrument starts out unaccompanied. On the road to mastery, most musicians spend thousands of hours playing alone. In jazz, solo recordings by musicians other than pianists or guitarists are a relatively recent phenomenon, and the prospect of listening to a horn or drum soloist playing unaccompanied for an hour or more may seem daunting, ...

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Natsuki Tamura and Satoko Fujii: Muku

Read "Muku" reviewed by Dave Wayne

It's surprising that trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii--partners in music and life--have only recorded five duet CDs during the course of their incredibly prolific and artistically fecund collaboration. As Fujii wryly explains in her liner notes, each of their duet recordings is different--some are entirely freely improvised, others consist solely of compositions written by either Fujii or Tamura. The location--an important metric in the Fujii/Tamura universe--of each duet recording has also been different. Recorded in New York City, ...

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Natsuki Tamura / Satoko Fujii: Muku

Read "Muku" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii--partners in marriage and music--have an extensive discography together, spanning a broad array of ensemble configurations, from Fujii's calamitous big bands to Tamura's European folk song-flavored Gato Libre discs, and from Fujii's propulsive, window-rattling art rock quartets to Tamura's blistering electric quartet of Hada Hada (Libra Records, 2003). But it is in their simple duo of piano and trumpet, where they have recently created some of their most compelling music.Muko is the ...

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First Meeting: Cut the Rope

Read "Cut the Rope" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura creates a vast expanse of sound on Cut the Rope, the first album recorded with his band First Meeting. Nothing is predictable on this wholly improvised album that ranges from aspects of a vision of being marooned on a desolate soundscape to the musicians ultimately finding their way into a melodic river of sound, after at first coming perilously close to losing all sense of direction. But Tamura is an expert guide: he wields his horn like ...

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Gato Libre: Shiro

Read "Shiro" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Japanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's name is most often mentioned in the press for his work with his wife, Satoko Fujii. The Japanese pianist casts a blinding light with her prolific output, and a fearless and unfettered musical vision. Tamura sits in as either a sideman or collaborator on many, if not most, of her CDs.If Fujii is superhuman in her output as a leader, Tarmura is closer to mortal, though no less adventurous. He has produced sets as ...

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Gato Libre: Kuro

Read "Kuro" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

This album is a bit unusual for trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and his group Gato Libre. While many of his other recordings are in a free jazz mode--notably as an accompanist for his wife, pianist Satoko Fujii--Kuro seems largely intent in showing a varying picture of Tamura's musical scope.

Fujii forgoes her usual piano for accordion on Kuro.On the opening “Sunny Spot," she provides a tandem accompaniment with guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura that enhances this otherwise attractive melody. There is also a ...

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Gato Libre: Kuro

Read "Kuro" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Gato Libre is back, carrying on the musical tradition that marked its last recording, Nomad(No Man's Land, 2007). Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), Satoko Fujii (accordion), Kazuhiko Tsumura (guitar) and Norikatsu Koreyasu (bass) play with an agile sense for melody and detail that suits the compositions to a nicety. Tamura uses Gato Libre to get away from the improvisatory music that marks his other projects, where the written word is more often than not a speck on the horizon, rather than the ...

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Gato Libre: Kuro

Read "Kuro" reviewed by Budd Kopman

The enchanting Kuro is the third release from trumpeter Natsuki Tamura's group, Gato Libre, following Strange Village (Muzak, 2005) and Nomad (No Man's Land, 2007). Tamura shares the same fearless creative attitude that his wife and musical partner pianist Satoko Fujii (here playing accordion) has. His eclectic interests can be heard most recently on Cloudy Then Sunny (Libra, 2008), the second release from Fujii's Junk Box group, where his acoustic trumpet becomes a virtual sound machine.

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Natsuki Tamura / Satoko Fujii: Tobifudo

Read "Tobifudo" reviewed by Budd Kopman

"Tobifudo" means “Flying God" or “Flying Deity" in Japanese and the Shoboin Temple in Japan is dedicated to the Flying God. It is also the name of a group in which pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura were members, and finally, the name of the first album in their large discography. As such, Tobifudo is the introduction to the phenomenon that is Fujii/Tamura (or Tamura/Fujii), and, while there is much worthy music within, it also gives ...


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