Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year!


I want to help
334

Gato Libre: Shiro

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Gato Libre: Shiro 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 disparate as the electric, sizzling Exit (NatSat Music, 2004), the gentle and incantatory solo disc, Ko Ko Ko Ke (NatSat Music, 2004),the radioactive Hada Hada (Libra Records, 2003), and, with Gato Libre, a string of European folks musings including Shiro.

The Gato Libre discs—Shiro is the fourth in the series—feature the Tamura/Fujii pairing at its most tranquil. The quartet—with Tamura using his trumpet in a mostly traditional, straightforward fashion (seldom the case)—also features bassist Norikatsu Koreya, guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura, and Fujii, substituting accordion for her primary instrument, the piano.

Gato Libre is not about individual virtuosity, though there is plenty to go around. These are explorations of the southern European sound in a relaxed, introspective, collaborative mode. The group sounds like a band of good friends gathered in a Spanish café at the end of a work week, breaking out the instruments after a good meal and glasses of red wine to create something intimate, something true to the simple beauty of the folk tradition.

"Dune and Star" opens the disc, with Tamura's solo trumpet issuing a plaintive cry. The mood is unhurried and timeless, as his band-mates join him in what sounds like a spare sketch from Miles Davis' classic Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960).

As soothing and tranquil as Gato Libre's music can be, the quartet can also—no surprise with Tamura and Fujii involved—get quite "out there." On "Scorpion," the group disassembles the music to a point of near chaos, with Fujji's jittery wheezing and Tamura's pained wails in front of Koreyasu's ominous bowed bass, until Fujii lets out a sigh of release, and the music gels back in the direction of tradition.

Tamura's career has largely been about dissolving musical boundaries. With Gato Libre and Shiro, the trumpeter extends his reach even deeper into the prettiest, most accessible of his endeavors.


Track Listing: Dune and Star; Waterside; Scorpion; Falling Star; Going Back Home; Mountain, River, Sky; Memory of Journey; Shiro.

Personnel: Natsuki Tamura: trumpet; Satoko Fujii: accordion; Kazuhiko Tsumura: guitar; Norikatsu Koreyasu: bass.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Libra Records | Style: Latin/World


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Nax by Alberto Bazzurro
  • DuDu by Hrayr Attarian
  • DuDu by John Sharpe
  • DuDu by Dan McClenaghan
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
  • Muku by Dave Wayne
  • Muku by Dan McClenaghan
Read more articles
John Zorn John Zorn
sax, alto
Jimmy Giuffre Jimmy Giuffre
clarinet
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Thomas Chapin Thomas Chapin
saxophone
Satoko Fujii Satoko Fujii
piano
Brad Shepik Brad Shepik
guitar
Ken Vandermark Ken Vandermark
saxophone
Henry Grimes Henry Grimes
bass, acoustic
Drew Gress Drew Gress
bass
Bill Dixon Bill Dixon
trumpet

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

All About Vince Guaraldi!

An exclusive opportunity for All About Jazz readers to participate in the celebration of a jazz legend.