Natsuki Tamura – trumpet | Satoko Fujii – piano
Recorded at Systems Two Studios, New York by Joe Marciano, September 12, and November 9, 1996. “Akumu” recorded at Blue Jay Studios, Boston on January 19, 1996. Mastered at Hit Factory by Scott Hull on April 15, 2004. Executive producer: Natsuki Tamura. Design and Photos by Motonobu Furuhata.
Tracklist:1. Akumu [3:45] 2. Lightning Attack [4:16] 3. Self Portrait [4:58] 4. Who Are You [5:26] 5. How Many? [2:39] 6. A Day After Yesterday [5:12] 7. A Song for Jyaki (Tamura) [5:06] 8. Kaleidscope (Fujii) [3:32] 9. Subjective Gravity [4:48] 10. Correlation [5:30] 11. One Morning in February [7:19] 12. A Bench in the Park [6:16] 13. Micro & Macro [2:21] 14. A Whisper of Maple Wood [3:46]
If you turn up the volume
and attune your antennae to the tonal and textural subtleties of Natsuki Tamura’s trumpet and Satoko Fujii’s piano, you’ll hear a rare breed of mood-derived propulsion. — Sam Prestianni, Jazziz
Japanese trumpeter and composer NATSUKI TAMURA is internationally recognized for his ability to blend a unique vocabulary of extended techniques with touching jazz lyricism. This unpredictable virtuoso “has some of the stark, melancholy lyricism of Miles, the bristling rage of late 60s Freddie Hubbard and a dollop of the extended techniques,” according to Mark Keresman of JazzReview.com. Tamura’s seamlessly limitless creativity led Francois Couture in All Music Guide to declare that “… we can officially say there are two Natsuki Tamuras: The one playing angular jazz-rock or ferocious free improv… and the one writing simple melodies of stunning beauty… How the two of them live in the same body and breathe through the same trumpet might remain a mystery…”
Since 2005, Tamura has focused on the intersection of European folk music and sound abstraction with Gato Libre, a quartet featuring Satoko Fujii on accordion, Tsumura Kazuhiko on guitar, and Koreyasu Norikatsu on bass. The quartet’s poetic, quietly surreal performances have been praised for their “surprisingly soft and lyrical beauty that at times borders on flat-out impressionism,” by Rick Anderson in CD Hotlist for Libraries. Dan McClenaghan in All About Jazz described their fourth CD, Shiro, as “intimate, something true to the simple beauty of the folk 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.”
Earlier bands led by the constantly exploring trumpeter have been very different in character. Peter Marsh of the BBC had this to say of the 2003 Natsuki Tamura Quartet release Hada Hada: “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 some way to describing this magnificent sprawl of a record.” The collaborative trio, Junk Box, which he co-founded in 2006 along with pianist Fujii and drummer John Hollenbeck, plays Fujii’s “composed improvisations,” graphic scores that take “ensemble dynamics to great creative heights,” says Kevin Le Gendre in Jazzwise. Their music “is full of bluster and agitation that nonetheless retains moments of great melodic beauty, usually by way of concise, pertly pretty motifs that trumpeter Tamura plays in between bursts of withering roars that often dissolve into austere overtones.” Cut the Rope, the debut release by his most recent quartet, First Meeting, featuring Fujii, drummer Tatsuhisa Yamamoto and electric guitarist Kelly Churko, “is a noisy, free, impatient album, and ranks among Fujii and Tamura’s most accomplished,” according to Steve Greenlee of the Boston Globe.
Since 1997, his ongoing duet with pianist (and wife) Satoko Fujii has recorded four CDs and won accolades from critics and audiences alike. “The wife-husband team from Japan was simply brilliant,” says Steve Feeney of the Portland Press Herald. “Though their work has a fair amount of compositional structure, it consistently reveals a wide-open and unpredictable nature that makes its performance a thrilling ride for the listener.” In addition to their intimate duo performances, Tamura collaborates on many of Fujii’s own projects, including her current ma-do quartet, and big bands in New York, Tokyo, Nagoya and Kobe.
Born on July 26, 1951 in Otsu, Shiga, Japan, Tamura first picked up the trumpet while performing in his junior high brass band. He studied at Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music and has taught at the Yamaha Popular Music School and at private trumpet studios in Tokyo and Saitama. He is also a regular member of saxophonist-composer Larry Ochs’ Sax and Drumming Core, and performs as an unaccompanied soloist as well.
“As unconventional as he may be, Natsuki Tamura is unquestionably one of the most adventurous trumpet players on the scene today,” notes Marc Chenard in Coda magazine. He “is very much part of a long lineage of free-spirited trumpeters, encompassing the likes of Freddie Keppard, Bubber Miley and Rex Stewart, and more contemporary stylists such as Don Cherry, Lester Bowie, Bill Dixon and Leo Smith.”
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