When jazz doesn't seem like most jazz, is it still jazz? The answer that comes to mind is "Who Cares, Talk About Something that Matters!" The truth is, "jazz musicians" make MUSIC. That is their primary concern. Whether or not what they do at any point sounds like jazz is supposed to sound or not should not overly concern us.
Turning to the new CD by Gato Libre, Forever (Libra 104-030), we find music that relates to the above. It's trumpetist Natsuki Tamura and his running partner Satoko Fujii (for this occasion on accordion), along with Kazuhiko Tsumura (guitar) and Norikatsu Koreyasu (acoustic bass). They engage a series of compositions by Natsuki that sound rather folk-like (not necessarily specifically Japanese folk, but folk in a wider sense) and sometimes with a touch of minimalist mesmeric repetition.
Now it's not that there isn't improvisation involved on these performances. There is. And what of it there is is quite fitting and interesting. There is not as much of it as on a typical "blowing date," and the emphasis is on the music as music so to say. It doesn't come across as readily identifiable "jazz," free, avant, or otherwise.
But it does come across as ensemble music of interest. It's an unusual sort of folksy sound that grows on you as you listen repeatedly. And it is well done. So hurrah for it. I am glad Maestro Tamura gave us this to enjoy!