November 23, 2018

Jun Izumi (vo) and Yuto Kanazawa (gt) played Bamboo Club in Osaka, on November 18th, 2018

The duo came back to celebrate the release of their album.

Jun Izumi and Yuto Kanazawa, singer and guitarist based in New York, performed at the quaint house where they played the Tanabata night gig earlier that year.


- Jun Izumi (voice)

- Yuto Kanazawa (guitar)

at Bamboo Club in Osaka, Japan on Sunday, November 18th, 2018

Set list for the show
* 1st Stage
1. Love You Madly
2. Flor De Lis
3. Will I
4. My Favorite Things
5. Close To You
6. First Circle
* 2nd Stage
1. Triste
2. Love For Sale
3. Carnival
4. Spain

They played four songs from the EP "No Day But Today", which comprises five pieces.

The album title comes from the Broadway musical "RENT".

When Izumi visited New York for the first time, she buried herself in the show so deep that she enjoyed savoring it four days a week.

You can feel her devotion to everything about the play, including the story, music, lyrics and playwright, in the duo's performance of "Will I".

Now "No Day But Today" is the words to live by for Izumi.

Izumi and Kanazawa also created a fantastic YouTube movie in which they played "Will I". That was filmed in East Village, the area of New York City which characterized "RENT".

The guitar accompaniment brings out the singer's emotion in such a sophisticated way. His cutting-edge arrangement to the songs sometimes sounds reminiscent of the days when they were composed.

The club saw other great vocalists in the audience: SOA and Kaoru Azuma, which means the show was really worth appreciating.

[left to right] SOA, Jun Izumi, Kaoru Azuma and Bamboo Club's owner Rumi Ushijima

The performance was awesome enough to spend the beautiful mid-fall afternoon.

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 10:17 on November 23, 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

November 17, 2018

Ai Kuwabara the Project played Umeda Club Quattro in Osaka, on November 5th, 2018

Ai Kuwabara (piano), Keisuke Torigoe (double bass), Muneomi Senju (drums) and Daichi Yamamoto (rap) performed a launch show for their latest album at Umeda Club Quattro in Osaka, on November 5th, 2018.


- Ai Kuwabara (piano)

- Keisuke Torigoe (double bass)

- Muneomi Senju (drums)

- Daichi Yamamoto (rap)

at Umeda Club Quattro in Osaka, Japan on Monday, November 5th, 2018

Set list for the show
1. Opening-1
2. The Error
3. Mother Sea
4. Maria
5. Improvisation XV - Hommage à Édith Piaf
7. Window / Daichi Yamamoto
8. To The End Of This World
9. 919
* Encore
Love Me Or Leave Me

M1, 2, 3, 8, 9: pf, bs, ds
M4: pf, bs
M5: pf, ds
M6, M7: pf, bs, ds, rap
En: pf

The album "To The End Of This World" is based on Kuwabara's piano trio performance, in which she invited some guest artists to her CD production for the first time.

"I wanted to record it in that way." - Ai Kuwabara

She recalls her passion for the rendition she played with twelve musicians in total.

The pianist stayed so cool during the busy recording session that she played piano for only fifteen seconds in "Improvisation XV - Hommage à Édith Piaf" because she believed that was enough for the song.

Kuwabara wrote "MAMA", the piece Daichi Yamamoto raps on, just after she had words with her mother. The bickering is the result of affection, she says.

The composition "919" means the date when the 2015 Japanese military legislation was passed in the Diet.

The phrase "To The End Of This World" came across her mind when Kuwabara felt some connection among the tunes in the album and pondered where the feeling came from. She depicted how she would live her life to the end of this world as a woman as well as a pianist.

The ninety-five-minute, intermission-free show convinced the audience that the album was a big milestone in the pianist's life.

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 19:11 on November 17, 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

November 11, 2018

Kaoru Azuma (vo), Hitomi Nishiyama (pf), Motohiko Ichino (gt), Toru Nishijima (bs), Ryosuke Hashizume (ts) played FJ's in Tokyo on Nov 2, 2018

After a four-year break, they reunited for a show to unveil how advanced they each have got.

Although the vocalist and the pianist often meet up for a duo, Kaoru Azuma (voice), Hitomi Nishiyama (piano), Motohiko Ichino (electric guitar), Toru Nishijima (double bass) and Ryosuke Hashizume (tenor saxophone) performed together for the first time since they played a release gig for their debut album "TRAVELS" that was launched in 2013.


- Kaoru Azuma (voice)

- Hitomi Nishiyama (piano)

- Motohiko Ichino (electric guitar)

- Toru Nishijima (double bass)

- Ryosuke Hashizume (tenor saxophone)

at Cafe & Live spot FJ's in Tokyo, Japan on Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Set list for the show
* 1st Stage
1. Face Of Yesterday
2. White Cloud Mountain Minnow
3. Just By Thinking Of You
4. Pescadores
5. Pierre Without A Face
* 2nd Stage
1. Face Of Yesterday
2. On Travel
3. Manouche
4. T.C.T.S.
5. Baroque
* Encore
Remember Me

S1M1, S2M1, S2M3: vo, pf, gt, bs
S1M2, S1M5, S2M4, S2M5, En.: vo, pf, gt, bs, ts
S1M3: vo, bs, ts
S1M4: vo, pf, gt
S2M2: vo, pf, bs, ts

Nishiyama composed all the songs except "Remember Me".

Azuma wrote the lyrics to "Face Of Yesterday", "White Cloud Mountain Minnow", "Just By Thinking Of You", "Pescadores", "Pierre Without A Face", "On Travel" and "J".

"Manouche", "T.C.T.S." and "Baroque" are scat.

All the songs they played that night except the encore were composed by Nishiyama. The pieces included in "Travels" are "Just By Thinking Of You", "On Travel" and "Baroque".

One of the most popular tunes "Just By Thinking Of You" with fans of Azuma and Nishiyama was played without the pianist. At the critical moment, the vocalist demonstrated her true worth by singing it accompanied on the monophonic instruments: bass and saxophone.

You also can hear the song in "Music In You", the CD and vinyl released by Nishiyama's piano trio, as well as in "Star In Green", the album produced by Azuma and guitarist Jesse Forest.

The album "TRAVELS" was released in December 2013.

The renditions that have not been commercially available anywhere yet are "Pierre Without A Face", "J" and "Manouche".

Azuma made an impassioned speech on how seriously she wrote the lyrics of "Pierre Without A Face".

The scat "Manouche" is so complicated that Nishiyama gave Azuma all the instrumental recordings in advance so that the singer would get ready for the performance. Azuma raised a whoop of joy after she completed the mission.

The instrumentalists are amazing enough to let the vocalist sing so gracefully that it sounded like she was swimming among them.

"Even when I play a duo with Nishiyama, I can hear every sound on each instrument here." - Kaoru Azuma

[left to right] Toru Nishijima (bs), Hitomi Nishiyama (pf), Kaoru Azuma (vo), Ryosuke Hashizume (ts) and Motohiko Ichino (gt)

The audience believed that it was not a bad thing to have been waiting patiently for their second album.

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 22:04 on November 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