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Gato Libre: Forever

Gato Libre formed in 2005 and is the long running brain trust between trumpet player Natsuki Tamura and multi-instrumentalist Satoko Fujii. There fifth album Forever will unfortunately be the last for the original line-up as bass player Norikatsu Koreyasu passed away in September of 2011. On this release Fujii plays accordion and rounding out the quartet is guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura.

The music played by this enigmatic quartet is definitely jazz but is hard to pigeonhole. Sometimes the musicians take a minimalist path and include both composition and improvisation into their songwriting. All four instruments are vital to the band's sound but I think it is the accordion that makes this recording so unique, often laying the foundation upon which Tamura adds his flamboyant trumpet lines. That said, bass and acoustic guitar are also very prominent and work well in tandem, often their lines intertwining with the guitar adding a delicate folksier touch to the sound.

The album begins with "Moor" and a fantastic trumpet solo quickly ensues. There are subtle moments of dissonance but this is a structured piece with a pretty good melody, complements of the aforementioned trumpet. In the slow moving "Court" the bass almost sounds ominous, laying the foundation for trumpet and accordion explorations. In "Hokkaido" Koreyasu's bow work is quite impressive matching nicely with Tsumura's delicate guitar phrasings. The title track ends the album on a high note with a subtle Spanish flair in the guitar and trumpet and an overall peaceful vibe. There is a folk-like element at work here as there is in many of these tracks.

Forever is a solid album from a quartet that offers something a little different. If you are an open-minded jazz fan by all means check it out.

Track Listing:
1. Moor (8:09)
2. Court (9:10)
3. Hokkaido (9:42)
4. Waseda (5:28)
5. Nishiogi (8:29)
6. Japan (5:15)
7. World (4:40)
8. Forever (8:38)

Added: December 23rd 2012
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 1593
Language: english

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