Articles

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

ALBUM REVIEW

Gato Libre: Koneko

Read "Koneko" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Gato Libre has long represented the anthesis of the larger Natsuki Tamura / Satoko Fujii portfolio. Haunting melodies and striking improvisations have been the mark of the group throughout their quarter-century of work. Trumpeter Tamura and partner/accordionist Fujii have been the pillars of the group since its debut, Strange Village (Muzak Inc, 2005). Bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu passed away in 2011, and guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura in 2015, shortly after trombonist Yasuko Kaneko first appeared on Gato Libre's DuDu (Libra Records, 2014). ...

ALBUM REVIEW

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEW

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEW

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, ...

ALBUM REVIEW

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, ...

ALBUM REVIEW

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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