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