August 30, 2018

Kaoru Azuma (vo, pf) played a solo show at CrossRoad in Higashi-Osaka City, Osaka Pref., on August 24th, 2018

When will a pianist want to sing to their own playing? When will a singer want to accompany themselves on piano?

Vocalist Kaoru Azuma performed solo to show her great skill on piano as well as on vocals in Osaka on a sticky late-summer night.


- Kaoru Azuma (voice, piano)

at CrossRoad in Higashi-Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan on Friday, August 24th, 2018

Set list for the show
* 1st Stage
1. My Favorite Things
2. Sky Blue / music by Jesse Forest, lyrics by Kaoru Azuma
3. Desafinado
4. Both Sides, Now
5. Lullaby Of Birdland
* 2nd Stage
1. Palhaço (scat)
2. Remember Me
3. Georgia On My Mind
4. Stars (Endless Stars / music by Fred Hersch, lyrics by Norma Winstone)
5. When You Wish Upon A Star
* Encore
That Sunday, That Summer

Some of the songs Azuma played that night were regular ones she usually sings on microphone only. They brought another sound to the familiar figures at her gigs.

Others were the ones she premiered for the show. They gave another fun to the audience to ruminate about the reason why she chose them.

8.24.2018 @Cross Road Kaoru Azuma(Vocal & Piano) I was so happy to be able to relax on stage. I’m sure that one of the reasons was being in a good relationship with this piano! Thanks for coming and supporting me tonight! クロスロードで初の弾き語りライブ、お越し頂いたみなさん、どうも有難うございました! やっぱりクロスマジック!お店が集中力を後押ししてくれる。 そしてピアノ🎹とすぐ馴染めたの✨ ジャズ、ディズニー、オリジナル、ボサノヴァ、ジスモンチやFred Hersch などのコンテンポラリーなど色々演奏してみました。 次回のクロス出演は、12月7日(金)に決定しました。 Photo by Mr. M #弾き語り #ジャズ弾き語り #東かおる #クロスロード #crossroad #kaoruazuma #pianoandvocal

A post shared by Kaoru Azuma ( on

The business in regard to such live ambient music as you hear at a hotel lounge in Japan tends to require the musician to perform solo to reduce the labor cost, Azuma said. She added singing to their own instrument playing would meet the requirement better and therefore improve their value.

Whatever forces a musician to play music in an unusual style for them, the listeners would enjoy the performance to be done by a really great artist. Kaoru Azuma deserves to be one of them.

Kaoru Azuma (vo, pf)

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 12:10 on August 30, 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

August 15, 2018

Kaoru Azuma (vo) and Hitomi Nishiyama (pf) played NAM HALL in Kyoto on August 12th, 2018

The deeper you have your trust in someone, the more demanding of them you will get.

The pianist usually composes a song pondering how well it would play on the given instrument. After she finishes the writing and plays it with the instrumentalist, the relationship of confidence with a singer prods her to take a step forward.

"The song on vocals must be another interesting rendition".

The rendering is quite a tough task for the vocalist, Kaoru Auma. However, Azuma always meets the severe needs offered by the piano player, Hitomi Nishiyama, with her lyricism and vocalism completely, which will drive Nishiyama to make the requirements more advanced.

On a Bon holiday, Kaoru Auma and Hitomi Nishiyama demonstrated the expertise based on their mutual dependence in Kyoto.


- Kaoru Azuma (voice)
- Hitomi Nishiyama (piano)

at NAM HALL in Kyoto, Japan on Sunday, August 12th, 2018

Set list for the show
* 1st Stage
1. J
2. White Cloud Mountain Minnow
3. Pierre Without A Face
4. Georgia On My Mind
5. Pescadores
* 2nd Stage
1. Face Of Yesterday
2. A Day Before The Last Day Of Summer
3. Manouche (working title)
4. Just By Thinking Of You
5. Baroque
* Encore
Remember Me

Hitomi Nishiyama composed all the songs except "Georgia On My Mind" and "Remember Me".

Kaoru Azuma wrote the lyrics to "J", "White Cloud Mountain Minnow", "Pierre Without A Face", "Pescadores", "Face Of Yesterday" and "Just By Thinking Of You" and scatted "A Day Before The Last Day Of Summer", "Manouche" and "Baroque".

The fish "White Cloud Mountain Minnow" is in the aquarium in Nishiyama's house. The title comes from it, but Azuma imagined "Mt. Minnow is topped with white clouds" when she received the score from Nishiyama. In fact, there is a place called "Minoh" in Osaka Prefecture where Azuma lives. Definitely, the city has a mountain with the fall. Azuma noticed that was the fish while writing the words to end up on the water in the story.

The doll Nishiyama got at an IKEA outlet, Swedish-originated furniture volume retailer, was named "Pierre". It doesn't have the face. Nishiyama tilted the piece "Pierre Without A Face".

The fishermen "Pescadores" was written in the motif of Ernest Hemingway's novel "The Old Man and the Sea".

Nishiyama composed "A Day Before The Last Day Of Summer" on August 30th some years ago. The summer vacation for schoolers in Japan usually ended on August 31st in those days.

Azuma wrote the lyrics to "Just By Thinking Of You" with the novel and movie "Calmi Cuori Appassionati" (『冷静と情熱のあいだ』 "Between Calmness and Passion") in mind.

The encore "Remember Me" is the film music from "Coco". Nishiyama likes the picture and Azuma sang it at a seminar of end-of-life planning before.

Azuma and Nishiyama released the album "TRAVELS" in December 2013.

They talked about the idea of their second album, which is expected to record in 2019, six years after the first one was released.

"It's better for the musicians to stay at a recording studio with accommodations for a few days because they can get more focused on their job". - Hitomi Nishiyama

"I wish I could join the recording session at a studio with onsen (hot spring) facilities". - Kaoru Azuma

The duo's ambition to create an album made up of songs with the original lyrics to the original compositions that will prevail in the jazz sector is entering the next phase.

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 21:15 on August 15, 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

August 11, 2018

SOA (vo) and Yoshimitsu Murayama (gt) played Shirohige in Higashi-Osaka City, Osaka Pref., on July 25th, 2018

The guitarist is good at bringing out unknown talents of the singer he plays with. He says it will take about ten sessions for the duo to really hit it off with each other.

It was the third time for Yoshimitsu Murayama to accompany SOA.


- SOA (voice)
- Yoshimitsu Murayama (guitar)

at Shirohige in Higashi-Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan on July 25th, 2018

Set list for the show
* 1st Stage
1. Agua de Beber
2. My Favorite Things
3. Cheek To Cheek
4. That's All
5. Lullaby Of Birdland
6. S'Wonderful
7. On Green Dolphin Street
* 2nd Stage
1. Caravan
2. Summer Time
3. Cry Me A River
4. On The Sunny Side Of The Street - with a guest from the audience on vocals
5. One Note Samba
6. What A Wonderful World
7. Love For Sale
* Encore
On A Clear Day

Murayama has expressed his world with many vocalists for some years. That evening's venue is kind of his stronghold to show it off to the audience.

Yoshimitsu Murayama

Yoshimitsu Murayama (guitar)

SOA leads a band which performs contemporary sounds. She sometimes uses a voice looper in the band. But she showed she is able to nicely play songs in a traditional way without gimmicks that night. Her singing and voice feel like it ushers in the new era of vocals.


SOA (voice)

The gig was bracing enough to get sweltering hot days this summer out your mind.

SOA and Yoshimitsu Murayama

SOA (voice), left, and Yoshimitsu Murayama (guitar)

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 09:03 on August 11, 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