Natsuki Tamura Quartet | Hada Hada | Libra Records

libra records 104-008

Natsuki Tamura – trumpet | Takayuki Kato – guitar | Satoko Fujii – synthesizer | Takaaki Masuko – drums

Recorded on September 7, 2003 by Naoaki Kose at Earth Studio, Tokyo. Mastered by Tatsuya Yoshida. Photo by Toru Sasaki.

Tracklist: 1. Hada Hada [7:35] 2. Incident [7:22] 3. Kagero [4:42] 4. Mizore [5:02] 5. Explorer [4:02] 6. Sateto [9:00] 7. Utage [6:28] 8. Jyonk [6:46]

Natsuki Tamura Quartet | Hada Hada | Libra Records

Imagine Don Cherry woke up one morning

found he’d joined an avant goth-rock band and was booked to score an Italian horror movie. It might be an unlikely scenario, but it goes someway to describing this magnificent sprawl of a record from Japanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura.

Tamura is frequently heard with his wife, pianist and bandleader Satoko Fujii, where his cracked, anti-virtuoso lyricism and darting intervallic leaps make a quick witted foil to her relentless flow of melodic ideas. But here they’re playing a different gameonthis blast of warped fusion.

Fujii sticks to synthesiser throughout, generating thick clouds of strings, demented organ textures or wildglissandi. Guitarist Takayauki Kato’s equally free with the pedals, chucking generous amounts of distortion, ring modulation and pitchshift in the mix. And what a mix…Hada Hada has a strangely retro feel about it; Takaaki Masuko’s furious jazz/metal drums are soaked in huge amounts of gated reverb, while Tamura’s trumpet is strangely recessed, like he’s playing in the next room, or maybe even the room next to that.

Sometimes the tape threatens to break up under the accumulated weight of Masuko’s bass drum and the low throb of Fujii’s synth. It’s a bit like a lo-fi version of Bill Laswell’s late 80s productions for Ronald Shannon Jackson or Akira Sakaata; as much a product of studio technology as breath, hands and feet.

Yet despite this lo-fi digital patina, Hada Hada is a deeply compelling listen (though maybe a bit much in one sitting). The opening title track sets out the stall for most of what’s to follow; Tamura’s bugle calls summon the thunder of Masuko’s drums, which alternate between free jazz clatter and hardcore rock/metal propulsion, often in the space of single bar. Fujii and Tamura offer fractured little melodies before heading off into choppier waters. Kato’s odd, metallic bursts and spidery runs are marked with uncommon restraint. Sometimes he’s almost hesitant.

When the whole group slows down a bit (as on the slightly more reflective “Sateto”) things breathe a bit more and Tamura’s blurry musings are thrown into sharper relief. Which is no bad thing. Distinctively odd, and all the better for it. — Peter Marsh

Natsuki Tamura Quartet | Hada Hada | Libra Records

Jazz trumpeter Natsuki Tamura leads his space

age jazz-fusion quartet into an affair marked by echoing EFX, brash soloing, and numerous cosmic meltdowns. This Japanese based outfit also highlights the multifarious talents of modern jazz pianist/composer Satoko Fuji, here performing solely on synths.

The quartet signals in notions of what Miles was doing back in the early ‘70s with his electric, jazz/funk/rock fusion bands. Yet, this outing is a bit more “out there.” Overall, Tamura has designed a highly entertaining, and neurotically enacted musical jamboree. Nonetheless, the band goes for the proverbial jugular throughout this energized program. Tamura’s howling, razor sharp lines ride atop odd-metered backbeats, and slightly amorphous soundscapes. On “Utage,” Takaaki Masuko’s bone-crushing electronic rhythms seem out of place with Ms. Fuji’s church organ type samples. But the unorthodox contrasts and unpredictability of this and other tracks should keep the listener on his or her toes. All in good fun, we reckon! — Glenn Astarita

The latest release from Natsuki Tamura’s Quartet

is an intense, fascinating cacophony of pleasures. Don’t expect swing, harmony, or pretty melodies, though; instead, be ready for raw energy that escapes predictable musical structures. This eclectic approach is challenging, but rewards the attention it demands. Along with Satoko Fujii on synthesizer, Takayuki Kato on guitar and Takaaki Masuko on drums, the quartet gives Tamura’s trumpeting on his original compositions wild, eclectic support. Tamura’s trumpeting never gets stuck in one place, but roams far and wide in search of novel sounds. The band, too, constantly varies the soundscape, never returning to anything more than a hint of the lead melody, but always finding something more important—cerebral humor and genuine spontaneity. — Michael Pronko

Natsuki Tamura Quartet | Hada Hada | Libra Records

Trumpeter Natsuki Tamura is a noisemaker, but a close listen to Hada Hada, his new disc, shows that there is much color and texture in his aural barrage. ― K. Leander Williams, Time Out New York

Natsuki Tamura is a trumpet performer whose brilliance as a composer continues to develop into eclectic dimensions of imaginative creations. Natsuki Tamura gives the jazz-listening audience a fine showcase of spontaneous improvisation, group interplay, world jazz themes, Japanese folk melody, and contemporary free jazz in Hada Hada… Natsuki Tamura at his finest. Topnotch quartet performances, invigorating sounds and intimate surreal journeys await the jazz listening audience. ― Lee Prosser,

It’s obvious that Tamura was going for something different with this release… Hada Hada is a success. ― Robert Iannapollo, Signal To Noise

This collaboration between trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and his wife, keyboardist Satoko Fujii, is a rolling storm of sound, often beautiful but never placid… The music doesn’t swing, it stomps. ― Phil Freeman, Wire

One weird and otherworldly noise-fest. ― Stuart Kremsky, Journal of the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors

Tamura takes the energy of those electric fusion/funk discs and applies a tidal wave of punk aesthetic via synthesizer and guitar… Like Vulcan this music begs for volume… Tamura’s amplified metal trumpet is enough to scare Miles off the stage at the Fillmore with his raging hardcore… satisfying on both visceral and cerebral levels. ― Mark Corrotto, All About Jazz

Tamura is a fine jazz trumpeter, as well … This disc is a mad wash of Takayuki Kato’s guitar and Fujii on synthesizer and trumpet delay with a hard bottom end, something like the vicious jazz of John Zorn’s PainKiller… ― Kurt Gottschalk, Squidsear

Part of life’s soundtrack over the past few weeks has been the work of Tamura and his partner, the pianist Satoko Fujii, with various collaborators. An entirely life-enhancing experience. Now there is another slice of their prolific output to bring joy to the ears… It is without doubt one of the most exhilarating examples of electric jazz, if that’s an adequate term, I’ve come across this year. ― Paul Donnelly,

The stormy album in monstrous in sound, demanding to be played at full volume… ― Tom Schulte, Outsight, Ink 19

This sounds like the end of the universe. Or maybe it’s the beginning… As a musician he (Tamura) is nothing if not adventurous. His arsenal includes pain-wracked squeals and unearthly moans, but he is also capable of lyrical beauty and straight-ahead chops… it pays to listen again, with a bit of volume, please… compelling. ― Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz

If you wish to hear something completely over the top, this disc’s for you. Grade 8 (out of 10). ― Mike Ryan, Boston Herald

I’ve been a fan of Tamura’s horn antics for many years now… this CD is the most energetic “out” grouping I’ve ever heard him do… This is some of the most original playing we have ever heard; it gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. ― Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

Natsuki Tamura stimulates the memories of “Bitches Brew” through his cool performances. In fact, his concept of selecting sounds to draw the pictures of the new world and constructing the whole piece out of the sounds in a melting pot created by the members without knowing where they are headed has something in common with that of Miles the king. ― Yoshiyuki Kitazato, Ombasya

A sinister but at the same time refreshing album. The important thing is that the sinister mood is not a vague creation of something like just a feeling, but a well-balanced, solid construction. ― Kazutomi Aoki, CD Journal

Recorded in a public bath on Venus (if I am allowed to use such metaphor). Very refreshing pieces of music that are complete opposites of crafty ideas. ― Shiro Matsuo, Music Magazine

Natsuki Tamura Quartet | Hada Hada | Libra Records


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