Japanese jazz, "j-jazz"

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Couldn't seem to find a thread dedicated to this...I know very little about this but am starting to dig into it. I've been inspired by this upcoming comp from BBE (https://www.bbemusic.com/downloads/j-jazz/) and have come across some amazing stuff by Japanese jazz musicians in different mixes and podcasts of late (e.g., Terumasa Hino, Masabumi Kikuchi, Takeo Moriyama) and would love to dive deeper. It seems like Japan had its own very fertile scene with a fair bit of cross-pollination with a lot of US and European jazz musicians over the years.

Any suggestions? Good places to start? Comps? Labels? A s/d, perhaps?

Federico Boswarlos, Tuesday, 16 January 2018 20:44 (one month ago) Permalink

Some examples of stuff I'm feeling...


Federico Boswarlos, Thursday, 18 January 2018 16:51 (one month ago) Permalink


Federico Boswarlos, Thursday, 18 January 2018 16:54 (one month ago) Permalink

I don't know anything about this but definitely interested, thanks for posting

bhad and bhabie (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Thursday, 18 January 2018 16:56 (one month ago) Permalink


Federico Boswarlos, Thursday, 18 January 2018 16:57 (one month ago) Permalink


Brad C., Thursday, 18 January 2018 17:46 (one month ago) Permalink


one way street, Thursday, 18 January 2018 17:51 (one month ago) Permalink


one way street, Thursday, 18 January 2018 17:52 (one month ago) Permalink

Hideo Ichikawa – electric piano
Kunimitsu Inaba – bass
Motohiko Hino – drums

IF (Terrorist) Yes, Explain (man alive), Thursday, 18 January 2018 18:24 (one month ago) Permalink

i know next to nothing about this stuff BUT enjoyed this


the late great, Thursday, 18 January 2018 18:31 (one month ago) Permalink

whoa what a cool thread

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Thursday, 18 January 2018 18:34 (one month ago) Permalink

That Kikuchi/Evans LP is the best

Brakhage, Thursday, 18 January 2018 18:41 (one month ago) Permalink


Brad C., Thursday, 18 January 2018 19:44 (one month ago) Permalink

Hiromi has done some killer albums, she is a hyperactive uber virtuoso who is never dull.

calzino, Thursday, 18 January 2018 19:57 (one month ago) Permalink

is there a Japanese equivalent of Spotify I can subscribe to?

niels, Thursday, 18 January 2018 20:47 (one month ago) Permalink


Brad C., Thursday, 18 January 2018 23:31 (one month ago) Permalink

Cool, thanks for sharing these upthread. That Watarase track is lovely and that version of Strawberry Fields is absolutely one of the better (best?) Beatles covers I've heard!

In addition to the BBE comp, it turns out the Jazzman label is also looking to Japan for the forthcoming new entry in its Spiritual Jazz series.

Snippets are avail, discovered this jam from it:


Federico Boswarlos, Friday, 19 January 2018 15:22 (one month ago) Permalink

"To mark the release of 'J Jazz: Deep jazz from Japan 1969-1984' on BBE records on 23 Feb 2018, this is a two hour mix feat tracks from the compilation plus other J jazz killers. The compilation was put together by myself and Mike 'Bacoso' Peden. Heavyweight post-Coltrane modal/fusion/spiritual deepness from some of the rarest Japanese jazz albums ever produced."


Federico Boswarlos, Monday, 29 January 2018 16:28 (three weeks ago) Permalink

A little peripheral but I'm putting it here because it never garnered much attention here:


_Rudipherous_, Monday, 29 January 2018 16:38 (three weeks ago) Permalink

i still like the smooth jazz that intersects with city pop. this sounds like it could be one of the better tracks on a sonic the hedgehog soundtrack.


Arnold Schoenberg Steals (rushomancy), Monday, 29 January 2018 17:51 (three weeks ago) Permalink


budo jeru, Monday, 29 January 2018 17:58 (three weeks ago) Permalink



budo jeru, Monday, 29 January 2018 17:59 (three weeks ago) Permalink

wow is that walrdon / hino good! thanks, federico.

budo jeru, Monday, 29 January 2018 18:01 (three weeks ago) Permalink

teruto soejima wrote a "history of japanese free jazz" in 2002. i wonder if it will ever be translated.


budo jeru, Monday, 29 January 2018 18:03 (three weeks ago) Permalink

also i've been meaning to read this:


Japan’s jazz community—both musicians and audience—has been begrudgingly recognized in the United States for its talent, knowledge, and level of appreciation. Underpinning this tentative admiration, however, has been a tacit agreement that, for cultural reasons, Japanese jazz “can’t swing.” In Blue Nippon E. Taylor Atkins shows how, strangely, Japan’s own attitude toward jazz is founded on this same ambivalence about its authenticity.
Engagingly told through the voices of many musicians, Blue Nippon explores the true and legitimate nature of Japanese jazz. Atkins peers into 1920s dancehalls to examine the Japanese Jazz Age and reveal the origins of urban modernism with its new set of social mores, gender relations, and consumer practices. He shows how the interwar jazz period then became a troubling symbol of Japan’s intimacy with the West—but how, even during the Pacific war, the roots of jazz had taken hold too deeply for the “total jazz ban” that some nationalists desired. While the allied occupation was a setback in the search for an indigenous jazz sound, Japanese musicians again sought American validation. Atkins closes out his cultural history with an examination of the contemporary jazz scene that rose up out of Japan’s spectacular economic prominence in the 1960s and 1970s but then leveled off by the 1990s, as tensions over authenticity and identity persisted.


budo jeru, Monday, 29 January 2018 18:06 (three weeks ago) Permalink


_Rudipherous_, Monday, 29 January 2018 18:06 (three weeks ago) Permalink

is there a Japanese equivalent of Spotify I can subscribe to?

NHK radio has a weekly jazz program that i think you can stream:


budo jeru, Monday, 29 January 2018 19:36 (three weeks ago) Permalink

That Atkins book is especially interesting on pre-war jazz -- especially the role of Philippine bands as role models and on Shanghai as a proving ground for Japanese players. He's also thorough on the war years and the grim ways musicians embraced or adapted to extreme nationalism. What we'd generally recognize as jazz didn't really get going in Japan until the Occupation years, when the scene shifted from dance halls to coffee shops. Atkins is a historian so his emphasis is more on the social contexts than on analysis of the music, but he seems to cover all the big-name players prior to 1980 or so.

The Japanese quest for jazz authenticity is pretty fascinating and puts concerns about authenticity within American music in a constructively weird perspective.

Brad C., Monday, 29 January 2018 19:50 (three weeks ago) Permalink

cool, i will have to check that out. tbh the premise sounded kind of insufferable to me, it's nice to know that the "argument" or w/e of the book is potentially as interesting as the facts i had hoped to gleam in spite of academic handwringing over "authenticity"

the volume that atkins edited -- "jazz planet" -- is positively packed with essays that each look super interesting. but that's for a different thread.

also, it looks like michael molasky (who made a contribution to "jazz planet") is working on a translation of a book he wrote originally in japanese -- "the jazz culture of postwar japan: film, literature, subculture"



budo jeru, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:19 (three weeks ago) Permalink

gleam = glean lol

budo jeru, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:27 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Another nice one,


Federico Boswarlos, Friday, 9 February 2018 18:47 (one week ago) Permalink

Also interesting to hear about Jazz becoming popular during the Occupation in Japan. I recall something similar being the case - though pls correct me if wrong - in Germany while troops were stationed during/after WWII and with jazz clubs opening to cater to them.

Federico Boswarlos, Friday, 9 February 2018 18:50 (one week ago) Permalink

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