Archive for Wednesday, 30 April 2014,

Jazz Around the World – 30 April – Japan

Posted in Blog, Jazz, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Wednesday, 30 April 2014, by Stan

джаз филармония холл - © Stan Thomas/Kanale Creations


Welcome to Japan. Our visit coincides with International Jazz Day. Osaka, Japan has been designated the Global Host City so there will be a lot of Jazz being played here today.

Today Jazz Around the World celebrates the ladies of Jazz.

First up is the world renowned pianist/composer Toshiko Akiyoshi. Toshiko has won countless awards, been nominated for 14 Grammys, and published an autobiography. Though she was actually born in China, she moved to Japan when her family returned there in 1945 after the war. Best known for her work with her big band, Toshiko can also be found performing in smaller groups such as trios or quartets. She has been performing for nearly 70 years and is still active. Let’s welcome Toshiko Akiyoshi:


With piano trio – “The Third Movement”


Solo at her 60th Anniversary concert – “The Village”


Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band – “Harvest Shuffle”



Our next performer is keyboardist/composer Keiko Matsui. Keiko’s unique blending of eastern and western musical elements defies classification. She discovered saxophonist Paul Taylor, who contributed to several of her albums before he branched on a successful solo career of his own. Please welcome Keiko Matsui:


With Branford Marsalis – “Beyond the Light”


Forever, Forever





Coming to the stage now is a group of high school ladies from Takasago High School known as the Big Friendly Jazz Orchestra. I found them last year while looking for a video of the Jazz standard “Four Brothers”. I was so impressed by them and their professionalism, talent, and dedication to their music, that I wanted to have them join our tour. I think you will agree that BFJO is a perfect example of why music needs to be in our schools. Please welcome the Big Friendly Jazz Orchestra:


It Don’t Mean a Thing


The Way You Look Tonight


Four Brothers


Our final performer came to my attention through a good friend. Pianist/keyboardist Hiromi Uehara, known professionally by just her first name, has a very impressive resume. The list of musicians with whom she has played includes some of the best in the world. Though she is most well-known in Jazz circles, on her website, she herself says, “I don’t want to put a name on my music. Other people can put a name on what I do. It’s just the union of what I’ve been listening to and what I’ve been learning.” It’s an honor to welcome Hiromi:
Duet with Michel Camilo – “Billie’s Bounce”

Duet with Chick Corea – “Old Castle, by the River, in the Middle of the Forest”

The Trio Project – “Desire”

Map of JapanThank you for joining us here in Japan. I hope you enjoyed the concert. We fly back to the States in the morning. If you have time, we may be able to feature one more artist on our Jazz Around the World tour when we arrive in California.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. Support the artists. Buy their music. Go out and see some live Jazz today.