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Natto Quartet: Thousand Oaks

Natto Quartet creates beautiful sounds. The four-piece ensemble-Philip Gelb, shakuhachi; Shoko Hikage, koto; Tim Perkis, electronics; Chris Brown, piano-play a delicate, Japanese-inspired brand of free improvisation, emphasizing an intelligent use of space and a subtle manipulation of sonic elements. Gelb’s work is extraordinary. In utter control of the notoriously difficult bamboo flute, he’s capable of producing an infinite range of timbre. Brown has a classical pianist’s sense of touch and dynamics and a liberated way with melody and harmony. Hikage is an impulsive, expressive improviser; her work adds dissonance and a welcome percussive element.

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