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Natsuki Tamura has become a premier creative improvising trumpeter, consistently producing works of originality and thoughtful diversity. Born on July 26, 1951 in Otsu, Shiga, Japan, Tamura first encountered the horn as a member of his junior high brass band. Upon graduation from high school, he played professionally in many different groups, including the World Sharps Orchestra, Consolation, the Skyliners Orchestra, the New Herd Orchestra, the Music Magic Orchestra, and in the groups of his future wife, pianist Satoko Fujii. Tamura also performed on numerous national television shows in Japan from 1973 through 1982, including The Best Ten, Music Fair, and Kirameku Rhythm. In 1986, he came to the United States to study at Boston's Berklee College of Music; he returned to Japan to perform and teach at the Yamaha Popular Music School and at private trumpet studios in Tokyo and Saitama before coming back to the U.S. and Boston to attend further classes at the New England Conservatory of Music. Since 1990 Tamura, has conceived a dizzying number of group configurations, only rivaled by Fujii. They include his quartet Tobifudo, solo trumpet recordings and performances as documented on the Leo label CD A Song for Jyaki, duos, small and large ensemble projects with Fujii, a trio with drummers Jim Black and Aaron Alexander on the 2000 album White & Blue, and recordings for the Buzz, Libra, and NatSat labels. Of course, Tamura is also featured on all of the CDs with Fujii's progressive big bands based in New York City, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kobe, contributing numerous original compositions and arrangements to each of their joint efforts. His style has been favorably compared to Hugh Ragin, Roy Campbell, Wadada Leo Smith, Toshinori Kondo, Don Cherry, and Lester Bowie. Tamura's most prominent side project is Gato Libre, an acoustic quartet, featuring Fujii on accordion, guitarist Tsumura Kazuhiko, and Koreyasu Norikatsu on bass. Among his credits as a sideman are those with Satoh Masahiko, Orkestra Rova, Larry Ochs, the Juggernaut Jug Band, Misha Mengelberg, Angelo Verploegen, Chris Brown, Jimmy Weinstein, Elliott Sharp, Paul Bley, Takayuki Kato, Takaaki Masuko, Ryojiro Furusawa, and the group Junk Box. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi