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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Gato Libre

By Bruce Miller
Published June 22, 2007

Nomad
No Man’s Land

With titles such as “In Berlin, In September” or “In Paris, In February,” and with instrumentation that includes accordion and classical guitar, you could easily assume these wistful improvisers have roots in Spain or France and that they’d been playing the European café circuit for years. In fact, Nomad features a quartet led by Japanese avant-garde jazz trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and his similar-leaning pianist wife, Satoko Fujii, on accordion. The 10 tracks here stop in Madrid, Budapest, Gent, Venice, and elsewhere, attempting to capture the essence of a place and time. For example, the eight minutes spent in “Paris” are slow and languorous, sparse and foggy and Tamura’s melancholy trumpet can’t help but conjure Miles Davis. There’s the slightest hint of Albert Ayler on “In Glasgow, In May,” but that’s the closest thing you’ll hear to the leaders’ more typical free-jazz skronk. For the most part, Nomad succeeds in capturing individual cities’ eccentricities while wandering in unmapped territory.