Buddy Hori, Blue Note promoter, is an endearing man. Although he has dealt with thousands of top name performers, he treats everyone with the respect and has a great sense of humour. Add to this his great taste in music (he played my songs on his Radio-i show on Monday 27 July) and excitement about music, especially big band jazz, and you have my favourite venue promoter in Nagoya.
Saturday 1st August JOB, Mukai Shigeahru and myself performed at Blue Note, Nagoya’s version of the jazz music icon. An early sound check arriving at 12pm for our two stages at 6pm and 8pm, the band was a little tired by showtime. But when the adrenalin hits as you walk on stage the energy of the moment fires everyone and the room is alive.
A full house will do that to you, lift you: a sea of faces hoping to feel something and artists hoping to make them feel. The music does it anyway – it’s impossible not to feel the stab of the brass, the beat of drums, the velvet-covered notes drifting out of the grand piano, the mellifluous woodwind section. If you’re sitting on the bass side of the big band, you’ll certainly feel their stomping rhythms.
I wore an antique ostrich feather bolero from 1920s South Africa, given to me by my partner’s mother: a family heirloom. What a gift to help me channel the 1920s and transport the audience to that classic big band era. The long, thin, white feathers flow freely in their layers. I’m sure I heard someone in the audience gasp when I walked on stage.
The amazing arrangement of Caravan they chose never ceased to astound me and JOB nailed it on the night with Mukai Shiegharu providing brilliant solos throughout. He is a true artist, with great feel and presence: a unique player on the trombone.