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The 5th release from the Japanese quartet of trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, Satoko Fujii, here on accordian, the late bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu, and guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura, beautiful free form improvisation performed live in concert in 2011.

Gato Libre

Gato Libre: Forever (Libra)
Label: Libra    
Released in: Japan    

"The fifth and sadly final release of this ensemble working in this particular format finds Gato Libre's Forever exploring new compositions with a surprisingly rich sound given their more acoustic oriented instrumentation. An incredibly subtle but as lyrically engaging a group as one may find working in jazz today.

Another in the series of duo releases with trumpet phenom Natsuki Tamura and accordion master Satoko Fujii striking out on different harmonic paths they seem to magically discover an amazing middle ground where total free improvisation and the resulting chemistry between the two always for a synergy not often found in similar settings. Forever is actually what may be the last release as a 4tet or working ensemble with instead a joint release similar to Chun may be next but both diametrically opposed in form and functionality to make a sonic polar opposite from what one may normally expect. Several new tunes are featured on Forever which is sadly the last release with this particular line up with bassist Norikatsu Koreyaso passing away in September of 2011.

While the ensemble does forge ahead there is a more subtle if not delicate approach that comes through now more than ever. Sonic colors, textures and a free form lyrical interplay is the rule of the day. On the tunes "Court" and "Japan" there are interlocking parts as though a sonic jigsaw puzzle was intentionally used so that a solid momentum and harmonic balance is there for the listener to piece together as the compositions progress. Koreyasu's final performance may well have been one of his very best with a deep rich sound and solo on "World." A strong sense of lyrical intensity coupled with a vivid imagination push the ensemble to perhaps its creative apex. Since the passing of Koreyasu, the band has been using a variety of guest artists to fill in the void left by the tragic passing of this most prolific bassist and hopes to find a regular member soon to celebrate a re-birth of Gato Libre.

An amazing textural sound and finish from what is arguably Japan's finest example of jazz on a more global scale than what the average American audience may be accustomed to. An ensemble that is deceptively subtle in their approach, harmoniously in sync with their rhythmic and delicate approach and a release you will find yourself reaching for on numerous occasions."-Brent Black, Critical Jazz

"Born on October 9, 1958 in Tokyo, Japan, Fujii began playing piano at four and received classical training until twenty, when she turned to jazz. From 1985-87, she studied at Boston's Berklee College of Music, where her teachers included Herb Pomeroy and Bill Pierce. She returned to Japan for six years before returning to the US to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston, where her teachers included George Russell, Cecil McBee, and Paul Bley, who appeared on her debut CD Something About Water (Libra, 1996).

Since then Fujii has been an innovative bandleader and soloist, a tireless seeker of new sounds, and a prolific recording artist in ensembles ranging from duos to big bands. She has showcased her astonishing range and ability approximately 80 CDs as leader or co-leader. With each new recording or new band, she explores new aspects of her art.

Regular collaborations include her New York trio with bassist Mark Dresser and drummer Jim Black, augmented by trumpeter/husband Natsuki Tamura to form the Satoki Fujii Four; her duo with Tamura; the Satoko Fujii Quartet featuring Tatsuya Yoshida of the Japanese avant-rock duo, The Ruins; Orchestra New York, which boasts the cream of New York's contemporary avant garde improvisers, including saxophonists Ellery Eskelin and Tony Malaby, trumpeters Herb Roberton and Steven Bernstein, and trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, among others; Orchestra Tokyo, drawing on that city's best improvisers; Orchestra Nagoya; Orchestra Kobe; the co-operative trio Junk Box with Tamura and percussionist John Hollenbeck; ma-do, a quartet including Tamura on trumpet, bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu, and Akira Horikoshi; the Min-Yoh Ensemble with Tamura, trombonist Hasselbring, and accordionist Andrea Parkins; the Satoko Fujii New Trio, featuring bassist Todd Nicholson and drummer Takashi Itani― plus countless engagements and collaborations with some of the world's most important improvisers."

-Satoko Fujii Website (

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Japanese & Asian Improv/Rock
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
Quartet Recordings
Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura's Libra Label

Get additional information at Critical Jazz

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Shipping Weight: 3.00 units

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Product Information:

UPC: 4562169330306

Label: Libra
Catalog ID: Libra 104-030
Squidco Product Code: 16618

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2012
Country: Japan
Packaging: Cardstock gatefold foldover
Recorded on September 14th, 2011 by Masao Mizuse at Otoya Kintoki, Tokyo.


Natsuki Tamura-trumpet

Satoko Fujii-accordion

Kazuhiko Tsumura-guitar

Norikatsu Koreyasu-bass

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Track Listing:

1. Moor 8:07

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