Give us some jazz!

Since I arrived in Tokyo that I’ve been amazed at the amount of Jazz spots you can come across. From the small Jazz cafes whose owner is a record addict, to the expensive international clubs like Blue Note. (Blue Note is a reputed jazz club with branches in New York, Tokyo, Nagoya and Milan). Also, as I visited Sapporo in the north of Japan, I realized this is true for other cities too. Jazz is as well, interestingly enough, the music genre of choice for the average coffee shop in Japan.

This phenomenon obviously started with the American presence in Japan after World War II. As the country surrenders in 1945, American troops are deployed in Japan, beginning their attempt of reeducation to the “American way of life”. Along with this process come the good and bad elements of the occupying people, the good one in this case being music, I dare to say. What you can most frequently listen in the existing cafes and clubs is American Jazz classics from the 50s and 60s - as well as their interpretations by Japanese bands. It is also noticeable how many clients of these houses belong to the generations who witnessed the American occupation. But of course there is also a whole world of original japanese bands playing around the country, usually on the alternative side with nothing on youtube but 4 CD’s out in the stores already.

It is interesting to see how of the contemporary japanese singers with their own material, many were either born in or emigrated to the US. This statistic of mine also seems to apply to japanese Hip Hop. I suppose this is how american both genres are?

This week I’ll introduce some singers and bands with vocals that you can find in the stores / concert spots.

東京に来てから、ジャズスポットの数がなぜこんなにたくさんのかよく困っていました。マスターがレコード・マニアックなジャズ喫茶店や国際のおしゃれクラブ(BlueNote)や60年代からやっているローカルクラブなど、このような場所はかなり多いです。 東京だけではなく、札幌に行ったらそこにも結構多かったんです。日本の大きい町にどこでもあるとはっきり理解しました。


この現象は確かに米国のおかげであります。なぜかと言うと、第二次世界大戦の時に日本が降伏してからアメリカからの「アメリカン・ウェー・オフ・ライフ」の再教育が始まりました。多分アメリカからの唯一のよい影響を与えられることは音楽じゃないかと思います。 日本のジャズスポットではアメリカの50と60年代のジャズ・クラシックが一番多いと思います。お店に来るお客さんにも50年代に生きていた人が結構いる。



EGO-WRAPPIN’ - くちばしにチェリー