25 January 2017

Post 470: THE YOUNG JAPANESE KEEP OUR MUSIC ALIVE

I have written before about the great achievements of young musicians in Japan who are mastering traditional jazz, keeping the music alive and perpetuating it for future generations. About 200 videos of those young Japanese bands uploaded on YouTube by ragtimecave have given great pleasure, as many of you have written to tell me.

In December 2016, young Japanese players in various combinations played our music at a concert - the 55th Recital of the Waseda University New Orleans Jazz Club, through whose ranks a number of great musicians have passed over the decades.
There was some storming playing. Have a look, for example, at this performance of Wolverine Blues:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5bK7lFNYVA
What is very clear is that learning to play traditional jazz has been a serious part of the curriculum in some Japanese high schools. Here's a typical scene from about the year 2004:

One of the greatest of the young musicians (much loved, I know, by many of you) is the clarinet player Makiko Tamura. You can hear her in two videos performing Over the Waves:
(1) with the wonderful Natsuko Furukawa on keyboard here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8epDHtq1uRY
(2) with The New Orleans Jazz Hounds here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBuXLwcnvvg
And there is some fine playing in this recent video, including an exciting Viper Mad in Ab. You may note the impressive and ubiquitous Kensuke Shintani on clarinet and Naho Ishimura on trumpet:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2HI4IQUXHk

Have a look at these two videos for some delightful surprises:
1. A well-drilled high school band plays 'Who Stole My Heart Away?' at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QvYkU8cf68
The young ladies who sing in harmony are Makiko Tamura and Airi Shishido.
2. A 'Big Band' plays 'Stardust' at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUsxzkDKLNE

If you find these interesting, you will also be able to locate more videos from similar sources. For example, what about this extraordinary performance of  'Weatherbird Rag'?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5ousAaG9gI

And don't forget the wonderful Japanese banjo player, Ken Aoki, who was to be seen playing with the youngsters in the Who Stole My Heart Away? video (above). You may also admire his talents by watching this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j714N05_SeQ
There are several more for you to explore on YouTube.