The eighth record for the Japanese trio led by trumpet player and composer Natsuki Tamura, Gato Libre (a quartet until 2015, when guitarist Kazuhiko Tsumura passed away), develops dreamlike atmospheres that are sometimes, but not always, conducive to a certain form of meditation. With Satoko Fujii on accordion and Yasuko Kaneko on trombone, the trio’s sound universe is truly unique, and the very “natural” production by Tatsuya Yoshida (the drummer of The Ruins) paradoxically bathes the whole thing in a surreal atmosphere – the sewing machine and the umbrella are not far away.
Fujii is best known as a pianist, of course, who celebrated her 60th birthday two years ago (to celebrate her kanreki in 2018, she released a record every month, from solo to orchestra), but she uses the accordion admirably. In this music that alternates composed passages and improvised moments, she is often in the accompaniment, placing herself behind the trumpet and trombone, a role quite different from what the pianist does in her Kaze quartet, for example, with two trumpeters (including Tamura, her husband by the way). Trombonist Yasuko Kaneko offers an excellent counterpart to the voluntary simplicity of the trumpet, and makes her instrument resonate with a virtuosity that effectively complements Tamura’s own.