June 13, 2018

Kaoru Azuma (vo, pf) and Kazue Taniyama (vo, gt) played M CUATRO in Amagasaki, Hyogo, Japan on June 6th, 2018


Two-way players are now grabbing attention in the field again. I'm not talking about baseball but jazz.

Trumpet and voice are one of the most well-known combinations that have been in some giants' line. Contemporary artists are not only following them but also trying other mixtures such as piano and trumpet.

In terms of singing to their own instrument playing, guitar as well as piano will be the first to come to mind.

Jazz vocalist Kaoru Azuma invited Kazue Taniyama, a jazz vocalist who is famous for her awesome singing of bossa nova and Brazilian songs on her own guitar, to play an uncommon show that features two singers accompanying themselves.






Personnel:

- Kaoru Azuma (voice, piano)
- Kazue Taniyama (voice, guitar)

at M CUATRO in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan on Wednesday, June 6th, 2018


Set list for the show
* 1st Set
1. My Favorite Things
2. Fly Me To The Moon
3. Georgia On My Mind
4. Lullaby Of Birdland
5. Água de Beber
6. How Insensitive
7. Luiza
8. Batucada Surgiu
* 2nd Set
1. The Very Thought of You
2. Black Orpheus
3. Falando de Amor
4. Chove Chuva
5. Palhaço
6. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't (My Baby)
7. The Nearness Of You
8. Desafinado
9. East Of The Sun (and West of the Moon)
* Encore
No More Blues

S1M1〜S1M4: Azuma sings on self-piano
S1M5〜S2M4: Taniyama sings on self-guitar
S2M5〜S2M7: Azuma sings on self-piano
S2M8: Azuma sings to Taniyama's guitar
S2M9: Taniyama sings to Azuma's piano
Encore: Azuma on piano and Taniyama on guitar sing




In the first set, Azuma got on the stage alone to sing to her own piano accompaniment, followed by Taniyama alone to sing to her own guitar playing. In the second set, Taniyama showed up first.

Azuma's rendition sounded like it was on her company manners at first, but she gradually got used to the unusual circumstance for her.

Taniyama has been at it a little longer. She won the hearts and minds of the audience from the very first note. Her voice felt so deep and wide to comfortably harmonize with self-guitar accompaniment.



Kaoru Azuma sings to self-piano playing

Kaoru Azuma sings to self-piano playing



Kazue Taniyama sings to self-guitar playing

Kazue Taniyama sings to self-guitar playing






Azuma and Taniyama were born in the same year and graduated from the same college. But this was their first time to meet each other to play together.

They had heard of each other's reputation for great performance. Each of the two jazz musicians had long wanted to share the stage some day. Their dream came true that night.









In the second half of the second set, Azuma and Taniyama performed together. Azuma sang "Desafinado" accompanied by Taniyama on guitar and Taniyama sang "East Of The Sun" accompanied by Azuma on piano.



Kaoru Azuma sings to Kazue Taniyama's guitar playing

Kaoru Azuma sings to Kazue Taniyama's guitar playing



Kazue Taniyama sings to Kaoru Azuma's piano playing

Kazue Taniyama sings to Kaoru Azuma's piano playing






In response to calls for an encore Azuma and Taniyama sang "No More Blues" accompanied by themselves on piano and guitar, respectively. There are no words to describe how gorgeous the duo was.



Kaoru Azuma on piano and Kazue Taniyama on guitar sing

Kaoru Azuma on piano and Kazue Taniyama on guitar sing






All of the audience members completely enjoyed a rare opportunity to attend a gig where the singers play instruments for themselves. I'm sure some of them thought the cover should have been set higher. It is not a stretch to say that the urban live jazz scene in Japan has never seen that kind of gig before.

The show was tremendous enough to spend the evening of 2018's Musical Instrument Day in Japan.



Kaoru Azuma (vo, piano), right, and Kazue Taniyama (vo, guitar)

Kaoru Azuma (vo, piano), right, and Kazue Taniyama (vo, guitar)






Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan




posted by Jazz Up Japan at 21:52 on June 13, 2018 JST | show report | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

June 10, 2018

Jesse Forest (gt), Mari Saeki (pf), Jamie Ousley (bs) played gallery zing in Kobe on June 2nd, 2018


Whether or not gigs playing original jazz music only are popular in Japan, you should have attended this show.

Jesse Forest (guitar), Mari Saeki (piano) and Jamie Ousley (double bass) performed their own songs except Chopin's piece and the encore on June 2nd, 2018.






Personnel:

- Jesse Forest (guitar)
- Mari Saeki (piano)
- Jamie Ousley (double bass)

at gallery zing in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan on Saturday, June 2nd, 2018


Set list for the show
* 1st Stage
1. Park Life / Jesse Forest
2. Annabelle / Mari Saeki
3. Pasaje a Tennessee (Passage to Tennessee) / Jamie Ousley
4. Chromatic / Mari Saeki
5. Stumble Around / Jesse Forest
6. O Sorriso Dela (Her Smile) / Jamie Ousley
* 2nd Stage
1. 501 / Jesse Forest
2. Silence / Mari Saeki
3. Clearing / Jamie Ousley
4. Deep Labyrinth / Mari Saeki
5. Nocturne in E♭ / Chopin, arranged by Jamie Ousley
6. Restlessness / Mari Saeki
* Encore
Ambleside Days / John Taylor




Forest had played with Saeki and with Ousley, respectively before, but it was Saeki's first time to play with Ousley. So that night was the trio's first time to play together.

Each of them told the audience what inspired them to write their songs before they played them. It is always interesting to hear the stories behind the songs musicians play in a show directly from them.

Although a trio of guitarist, pianist and bassist is rare, the audience enjoyed their natural sound. Especially, Saeki's subtle strokes were outstanding to fascinate the listeners.

In addition, the strings sounded so sophisticated to make the entire vibe satisfactorily bracing.

The performance was attractive enough to convince you that original jazz music played in Japan is appealing to the world.



Ousley (bs), Saeki (pf), Forest (gt)

[left to right] Jamie Ousley (bs), Mari Saeki (pf), Jesse Forest (gt)




Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan




posted by Jazz Up Japan at 10:06 on June 10, 2018 JST | show report | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

June 09, 2018

Hatsune Hirakura (pf) and Ro Hasegawa (ts) played SUB in Osaka on May 31st, 2018


A scholarship student at Berklee College of Music on vacation came back home to the incubator in Osaka, Japan.







Personnel:

- Hatsune Hirakura (piano)
- Ro Hasegawa (tenor saxophone)

at SUB in Osaka, Japan on Thursday, May 31st, 2018






The first time Hatsune Hirakura played the old house was when she was a high schooler. Ro Hasegawa, the owner and saxophonist, welcomed her in school uniform to his seemingly adult-oriented place.



Signboard at SUB on May 31, 2018



That evening on the final day of May 2018, Hirakura played some jazz standards with Hasegawa on tenor saxophone in front of the audience members who looked forward to seeing her performance after some absence.

The show was stunning enough to assure you of Hirakura's promising future.




Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan




posted by Jazz Up Japan at 22:09 on June 09, 2018 JST | show report | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする