release date: 07.10.2022 on bandcamp
“…sounds that elevate, startle and thrill.” ― Jerry D’Souza, All About Jazz
“Tamura has an especially wide vocabulary of sounds, ranging from comic, muted gurgling to soulful harmonics.” ― Rob Adams, The Glasgow Herald
On Five Trumpets trumpeter-composer Natsuki Tamura convenes a summit meeting with four other trumpet masters to perform “Various” a new original composition that explores the musical possibilities of extended technique. Even for an inveterate explorer like Tamura, Five Trumpets covers new ground. His composition guides the trumpet quintet into rich and fanciful areas as they relentlessly exploit new sounds to cover a full range of moods and emotions. The music moves from a whisper to scream, from humor and joy to dark murmurings and snarls. It’s a feast for the ears that also feeds your heart and mind. (For easier downloading, the single, continuous composition was separated into two files on Bandcamp.)
Tamura chose some of the most creative brass players in Japan for the group. Rabito Arimoto, from Osaka, is a current member of the Satoko Fujii Orchestra Kobe. Nobuki Yamamoto, who also plays slide trumpet on the album is a former member of Orchestra Kobe. Kobe resident Ari Morimoto is also active on the city’s music scene and operates a recording studio. Masafumi Ezaki is an extended technique virtuoso widely known in the quiet world of lowercase improvisation. “They all had their own music and I knew that they are open and interested in my music, so I knew they would be willing to play with extended styles,” Tamura says. “They understood my intentions very well and we all had fun with the piece.”
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Japanese trumpeter and composer Natsuki Tamura is internationally recognized for a unique musical vocabulary that blends jazz lyricism with extended techniques. In 1997, he and Satoko Fujii, who is also his wife, released their first duo album, How Many? (Leo Lab). They have recorded eight CDs together, including 2021’s Keshin (Libra). Tamura’s collaborations with Fujii reveal an intense musical empathy and have garnered wide popular and critical acclaim. Kurt Gottschalk writes in the New York City Jazz Record that their rapport “feels like a secret language … It’s rare to sense this level of intuition between musicians.”
2003 was a breakout year for Tamura as a bandleader, with the release of Hada Hada (Libra), featuring his free jazz-avant rock quartet with Fujii on synthesizer. In 2005, he made a 180-degree turn with the debut of his all acoustic Gato Libre quartet, focusing on the intersection of European folk music and sound abstraction. Now a trio, their previous CD is Koneko (Libra), released in 2020. Writing in the New York City Jazz Record, Tyran Grillo said, “By turns mysterious and whimsical.”
In 1998, Tamura released the first of his unaccompanied trumpet albums, A Song for Jyaki (Leo Lab). He followed it up in 2003 with KoKoKoKe (Polystar/NatSat) and in 2021, he celebrated his 70th birthday with Koki Solo (Libra), which Karl Ackermann in All About Jazz described as “quirky fun in an age of uncertainty.” His latest solo album, Summer Tree, was a multilayered, overdubbed release that featured his piano and percussion work in addition to his trumpet.
In addition to appearing in many of Fujii’s ensembles, Tamura also has worked with collaborative groups. Most recently, he joined Fujii and master French composer-improvisers, trumpeter Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins, to form the collective quartet Kaze. With five CDs to their credit since 2011, Kaze “redefines listening to music, redefines genres, redefines playing music,” according to Stef Gjissels of Free Jazz Blog.
Tamura’s category-defying abilities make him “unquestionably one of the most adventurous trumpet players on the scene today,” said Marc Chenard in Coda.