January 08, 2019

No Day But Today / Jun Izumi (vo) and Yuto Kanazawa (gt)

How many singers do you recognize from their voice?

She would deserve to gain that reputation.

Jun Izumi released an EP with guitarist Yuto Kanazawa on November 16th, 2018.

No Day But Today

EP available on Jun Izumi Official Website

No Day But Today / Jun Izumi and Yuto Kanazawa

- Jun Izumi (voice)
- Yuto Kanazawa (guitar)

1. My Favorite Things / Richard Rodgers
2. Frevo / Egberto Gismonti
3. Will I? / Jonathan Larson
4. First Circle / Pat Metheny
5. Spain / Chick Corea

Released: November 16th, 2018
Label: Woodside Sounds

The EP "No Day But Today" comprises five songs.

It begins with "My Favorite Things" from the Broadway musical "The Sound of Music". The popular classic jazz standard, which is famous for John Coltrane's rendition, is the choice appropriate for telling Izumi's determination to be compared with many others to differentiate herself from them. You will be overwhelmed by her singing prowess just from the very scratch on the album.

Izumi scats Egberto Gismonti's composition "Frevo" and Pat Metheny's "First Circle". Her transparent voice gives another appreciation of the great masters' works.

Kanazawa's accompaniment on guitar is more than perfect to bring out the vocalist's natural gift. A duo performance often tends to sound like a battle to show off each other's advantage, that is, human organ versus artificial apparatus. He keeps manipulating his ax to keep some distance from as well as stick close to Izumi's vocals for their best harmony. The guitarist also remembers to improvise in a sophisticated way.

The vocalist and the instrumentalist top off the list with Chick Corea's masterpiece "Spain". They portray the emotionally depicted scene courteously without playing the eccentric artist.

Flyer: Jun Izumi (vo) and Yuto Kanazawa (gt)
Photo from the Facebook Event page for the EP release Japan tour in 2018

You can find the reason why Izumi titles the EP "No Day But Today" in "Will I?".

The song is from the Broadway musical "RENT", which captivated her with its artistry completely when she visited New York for the first time. The phrase 'No Day But Today' is referred to in the last song of the show.

Izumi learned the lesson from an incident in 2012 that nobody could expect tomorrow would come just like today did, which crushed her spirit seriously. Now she recalls she saw the musical between tears she shed moved by the beautiful music and the harsh words. With in mind the joy of living alive every single second the phrase indicates, she's always crooned the song to inspire herself.

She put those feelings of her and respect for Jonathan Larson, the author of "RENT", into the song to arrange it before she recorded the rendition.

Along with the CD launch, Izumi shows the movie she shot with Kanazawa in the area of East Village, New York City that was featured in "RENT". They play "Will I?" in it. She translates her emotions more vividly and wistfully into the picture.

Throughout the album, the singer and guitarist, who hail from Japan and are based in New York, demonstrate their refined skills to make beautiful sound. You can feel how gracefully voice and guitar could work together when they hit it off with each other.

Jun Izumi (vo) and Yuto Kanazawa (gt)

Photo from Bamboo Club's Facebook Page, taken during the EP release show at the club

Izumi collaborates with another guitarist, Pat Brennan. They both graduated from the City College of New York. The duo has some recordings on her channels of YouTube and Soundcloud. Their session is also worth listening to.

In addition, she is going to release one more duo album and a quartet one in 2019.

Jun Izumi will no doubt be one of the singers you can name just after you hear a single voice of theirs.

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 18:03 on January 08, 2019 JST | review | 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

February 16, 2018

The Monk: Live At Bimhuis / Miho Hazama & The Metropole Orkest Big Band

The pianist would never have thought that his works were performed by the Netherlands orchestra under the baton by Japan's artist in the year when he turned one hundred.

Japanese jazz composer Miho Hazama and the big band from prestigious Dutch orchestra The Metropole Orkest played Thelonious Monk's songs in four cities in the Netherlands in October 2017.

Refer to The Metropole Orkest's webpage
Refer to The Metropole Orkest's webpage

Their album "The Monk: Live At Bimhuis" includes seven pieces that were live recorded at Bimhuis, a concert hall in Amsterdam, during the tour. They were all arranged by Hazama.

The Monk: Live At Bimhuis

- Miho Hazama & The Metropole Orkest Big Band

1. Thelonious
2. Ruby My Dear
3. Friday The 13th
4. Hackensack
5. 'Round Midnight
6. Epistrophy
7. Crepuscule With Nellie

Released: February 14th, 2018
Label: Universal Music

In addition to the CD production, she accomplished some outstanding achievements in 2017: she created and performed a ballet suite for La Folle Journée au Japon 2017, assumed the Composer-in-Residence of Siena Wind Orchestra she conducted to play the suite, arranged the five tunes included in Herbie Hancock's album "Maiden Voyage" to make up a suite and premiere at Jazz Auditoria 2017 and so on.

She also regularly orchestrates Japanese enka songs for charity concerts hosted by Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

All such experiences must have contributed to the successful collaboration for symphonic Monk.

In 2017 many musicians covered Monk's music in celebration of the centennial. The ensemble woven into "The Monk: Live At Bimhuis" brings you another view of the jazz legend's world.

Isamu Nozaki at Jazz Up Japan

posted by Jazz Up Japan at 23:41 on February 16, 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