It is my first year anniversary in Japan. In July 2008 some of Nagoya’s generous and fine jazz musicians invited me into a world where wild, subtle, delicate and stomping jazz seeps into walls of dark, smoky, vinyl-lined venues. Vintage guitars, saxophones or double basses hang from hooks. Since then I have played with numerous musicians.
I meet most of the musicians for the first time, give them charts and we get to know each other during the gig while the double bass bounds, grand piano purrs and drum grooves. Nobody understands my words nor I theirs. It doesn’t matter. It’s in the music. Customers close their eyes and drift into worlds. Bossa nova, jazz, blues, old and new. Mostly old. Rare recordings whirl on turntables or jazz giants jive, projected on walls between sets.
Yasuda san is my first musical ally: a wonderful upright bassist and tireless supporter and organiser of jazz in Nagoya. He gives me my first experiences of this amazing community of creatives where I stumble blindly and nervously. I shouldn’t. In between the humble genius and smiling sage I slowly learn how they work and I feel more comfortable every day. After a year, it feels like home. I can even speak a little Japanese now. A little. Nihongo musukoshi. I embarrass myself at every gig.
Okabe Jun and Ayako are my second music allies. Okabe san is a brilliant drummer and big band director (also a tireless supporter of jazz musicians in Nagoya) and Ayako a great singer and pianist. Okabe san invites me to sing with his big band JOB and the weight of the big band sound seeps into my skin with so much joy its like being caught in a cloud of cherry blossoms when the wind lifts them from the tree.
Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy the music.