February 25, 2018

José James played a show on "The Dreamer" 10th Anniversary Tour at Billboard Live Osaka on Feb 23, 2018

You don't need to raise your voice and shout to sing nicely. He is a good example to show it.

José James celebrated the tenth anniversary of his debut album "The Dreamer" with Takuya Kuroda, Takeshi Ohbayashi, Ben Williams and Nate Smith at Billboard Live Osaka in Osaka on February 23rd, 2018 on the tour.

"The Dreamer" 10th Anniversary Tour featuring Takuya Kuroda, Takeshi Ohbayashi, Ben Williams and Nate Smith

at Billboard Live Osaka in Osaka, Japan on February 23rd, 2018


- José James (vocals)
- Takuya Kuroda (trumpet)
- Takeshi Ohbayashi (piano, Rhodes)
- Ben Williams (double bass)
- Nate Smith (drums)

The accompanists were referred to as best of best to play with José for the tour. They performed more than perfectly to match up to the pre-show attention. Needless to say, their solo plays were so amazing as well.

José sang and scatted freely, working some jazz standards such as "I Fall In Love Too Easily" and "My Favorite Things" into the voice trick.

He also never forgot to pay respect to the audience as well as the members all the time during the show on the stage.

The Osaka gig was the last one for the celebration on the tour, following New York, Nagoya and Tokyo.

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 00:38 on February 25, 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

February 21, 2018

ai kuwabara the project: Ai Kuwabara (pf), Takashi Sugawa (bs), Muneomi Senju (ds) played NAM HALL in Kyoto on Feb 18, 2018

You may want to say she has gone through a significant milestone to enter her new chapter.

After releasing an album with Steve Gadd and Will Lee followed by one with Shun Ishiwaka in 2017, Ai Kuwabara seems to have begun her full-scale activities on "the project".

Ai Kuwabara played a piano trio gig as one of the "ai kuwabara the project" performances with Takashi Sugawa on double bass and Muneomi Senju on drums at NAM HALL in Kyoto on February 18th, 2018.

ai kuwabara the project


- Ai Kuwabara (piano)
- Takashi Sugawa (double bass)
- Muneomi Senju (drums)

at NAM HALL in Kyoto on February 18th, 2018

Set list for the show
* 1st Stage
1. All Life Will End Someday, Only The Sea Will Remain
2. "Into The Future Or The Past?"
3. You Must Believe In Spring
4. Dear Family - piano solo
* 2nd Stage
1. Opening One
3. Saturday Come Slow
4. Dog Doesn't Eat Dog World
* Encore
Money Jungle

The very first song "All Life Will End Someday, Only The Sea Will Remain" is from Kuwabara's fifth album "Somehow, Someday, Somewhere", in which Steve Gadd and Will Lee are the co-instrumentalists.

In the recording she scats with Lee, but didn't make sounds with her mouth that evening.

After playing the next one "Into The Future Or The Past?" from her third album "the Window", she said it is meaningful to perform a piece she composed and recorded in the past to learn something new.

The third one "You Must Believe In Spring" is famous for Bill Evans's rendition. She listened to the CD repeatedly, but she thought she couldn't play it, how much disrespect for Evans it was to do. However, one day, she played a phrase from the tune unconsciously when doing some improvising. That convinced her that she can play the song as she interprets it.

She played it out majestically.

The work "Dear Family" was created for a TV news show airing in Japan. When she received the job offer, they told her that she could include any players in the recording as long as drummer Shun Ishiwaka was one of the members. Kuwabara and Ishiwaka ended up playing duo after careful consideration.

It was another fun to listen to her perform it solo. She seemed to express how relieved she felt from the hardship that she was involved in when she worked with the difficult TV show staff.

Right after the short break, the trio played one of Kuwabara's new songs, which have not been officially recorded yet.

She made "Opening One" in front of the audience so vibrantly that her soul pervaded the entire the venue.

The next one "MAMA" is also new. Kuwabara said she composed it when she had a quarrel with her mother.

Somehow she closed the fallboard when the steady rhythm began on the bass. She opened it shortly to show off how much confidence she and her mother have in each other by the piano trio performance.

The piece that followed "MAMA" was the UK trip hop band Massive Attack's "Saturday Come Slow". I heard her play it live for the first time as well.

Before playing "Dog Doesn't Eat Dog World", Kuwabara talked about the inside story behind the song. It depicts how blindly her parents love their pet dog. When her mother calls her, her mother always makes the mistake of mentioning the dog's name first, followed by her sisters', and lastly, hers. The rendition really sounded filled with envy of the dog.

The curtain fell on the show after they performed "Money Jungle" for their encore, which is included in Duke Ellington's album with the same title as the song.

The audience saw off the trio members by clapping and cheering.

Look forward to more developments of "ai kuwabara the project".

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 20:41 on February 21, 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

February 19, 2018

For 2 Akis / Shinya Fukumori Trio

He longed for more fluid and interactive nature of music to eye scenes in Europe while groping for his own style in the U.S. with taste in culture as a Japanese on his mind.

What the Osaka native drummer was like around 2010 paved the way for his debut with the distinguished German record label he ached for.

Shinya Fukumori made his first appearance as the leader on ECM Records' catalogue on February 16th, 2018.

For 2 Akis / Shinya Fukumori Trio

- Shinya Fukumori (drums)
- Matthieu Bordenave (tenor saxophone)
- Walter Lang (piano)

01. Hoshi Meguri No Uta
02. Silent Chaos
03. Ai San San
04. For 2 Akis
05. The Light Suite ~ Kojo No Tsuki ~ Into The Light ~ The Light
06. No Goodbye
07. Spectacular
08. Mangetsu No Yube
09. Émeraude
10. When the Day Is Done
11. Hoshi Meguri No Uta (Variation)

Released: February 16th, 2018
Label: ECM Records

Fukumori and the members who recorded the album with him each have built a foothold in Munich, where the company is headquartered. Surprisingly, it was the first time for a Munich-based jazz band to publish a work under the label in about forty years.

As a matter of fact, before the trio began to work with ECM, they made a demo recording to hand in to the label. The session took place at Rainbow Studio in Oslo, Norway in 2015, which ECM is familiar with for their production. Fukumori took the French tenor saxophonist Matthieu Bordenave and the German pianist Walter Lang there at his own expense.

About a year later, in October 2016, Manfred Eicher, the founder of ECM, listened to them perform at a music college in Munich to decide to make a contract with them.

Eicher witnessed the album recording at Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in March 2017 as the producer.

He took part in the session as if he had been a fourth member to the trio to give them some ideas for a better rendition. The producer wanted them to play ensembles that sound like chamber music, according to Fukumori.

The title "For 2 Akis" means "for the two persons who are called Aki." They believe in and support Fukumori at the jazz club in Osaka, where he played the piece for the first time.

Along with his original works such as the title track, the album includes Japanese songs that make him nostalgic. They also remind him of the simple melody lines and chord progressions on beautiful Japanese tunes. He arranged them so that they would not lose the characteristics.

All through the track list, the sound flows in a subdued tone. The trio express their music sincerely as well as sophisticatedly.

When Fukumori decided to go to Munich in 2013, he wondered if he could be at least a side player for musicians who belong to ECM. But he steadily drummed ad libs and others in the regional field to come to prominence as an improviser.

Now that he has become the second Japanese artist as an album leader under the established Europe record label, Fukumori must be more ambitious for his future.

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan, with reference to Way Out West vol. 107 February 2018

tag(s):music JAZZ CD TRIO ecm
posted by Jazz Up Japan at 11:32 on February 19, 2018 JST | review | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする