Monday, December 02, 2013

Dancing With a Shaman: Tatsuya Nakatani in Hartford

 Improvisations With Tatsuya Nakatani
Real Art Ways
Hartford, CT

Stephen Haynes/cornet and flugelhorn
Joe Morris/guitar
Tatsuya Nakatani/gong, drums and percussion

Tatsuya Nakatani is unlike anyone that I have ever met. 

A traveler, Tatsuya has a quintessentially DIY sensibility, evidenced in his response to the scene (moving away from the locus if the city); his musical methodology ('I study with myself') and his way of touring (in a custom-fitted, sleep-in Mercedes van with a galley kitchen).  Almost everywhere he goes, Tatsuya swims at the local YMCA  There is much to learn from Tatsuya and his routine.

And then there is the music.

Tatsuya opened the evening with a solo concert.  His improvisation centered upon the gong, and his technique here was deep and well-developed.  He bowed, and touched the gong in a wide range of ways, producing a pure, orchestral sound.  This is something that you must hear, preferably live, to begin to understand.  Tatsuya has a similarly individualistic approach to the drums, employing singing bowls, a range of altered cymbals, smaller gongs and more to summon up a swirling cloud of organic sound.

Bill Dixon often spoke of the improvisor as orchestra, telling each of us that we should think and function as an independent orchestra and, in the ensemble, that we should think orchestrally.   Tatsuya Nakatani embodifies that sensibility. 

Tatsuya plans a return to Real Art Ways to conduct a gong orchestra in the early months of 2014.  Stay tuned for details.

Image of the trio in the doorway of Tatsuya's van by Matt Chilton
Concert images by Rob Miller

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