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Natsuki Tamura — Dragon Nat
(Libra 101-032, 2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-08-19

Dragon Nat Cover artThere’s only so much you can do with unaccompanied solo trumpet: melodies without any supporting musicians, sputtering sounds, squeaks, noisy blasts, and avant-garde sonic experimentation. Tamura has a large body of recorded work to his credit, most with his quartet, with various other ensembles (Gato Libre, Kaze, and others), and duos with his wife, pianist Satoko Fujii. On Dragon Nat he steps out of that comfort zone and goes it alone, offering eight pieces that cover a wide range of ideas. Some of the material here reworks melodies that were first introduced on the recordings with his folk-influenced acoustic quartet Gato Libre. When he’s playing melodically, it’s truly warm and wonderful, a magical experience to behold, with nods to the great Miles Davis and others. At times Tamura adds sparse amounts of hand percussion, occasional whistles and miscellaneous noise-making devices, plus some wordless voice parts to keep things interesting. The avant-garde and abrasive parts are more noticeable on the the early listens, but tend to move into the background more as the melodic parts become more familiar with repeated plays. Even though Tamura’s work is usually free-jazz oriented, Dragon Nat, due to its purely solo nature takes on a character that is relatively free of any musical idioms. This is certainly challenging at first, but patience and repeated listens bring the rewards.

Filed under: , 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Natsuki Tamura

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