May 31, 2012

Currents: May 2012

"Uwasa No Jinrui" reissued at last

Regarding the ongoing rerelease project of Hikashu albums, there is a big hole in its line-up. And that hole is now about to be filled. Yes, "Uwasa No Jinrui" will be reissued finally, and it's official.

"Uwasa No Jinrui" [The Human Being] is the 3rd album of Hikashu, recorded and released in 1981. Other than being the representative work from the early period of the band, it's important in their history for various ways. In short, making and releasing the self-produced album made them matured and established as an artist. In short, releasing the album marked a major turning point in the history of the band.

The album was different from any previous efforts from the band in many ways. It's dark, serious and hard to grasp - it's a concept album, based on the underground film no one knew or seemed to care - "Freaks" by Tod Browning.

This sudden move alienated many fans. The record company didn't like it either and was not eager to promote it. But it was inevitable. In a way, they had to redeem their true self. Being a "pop act" was a nice game for a while, but they were not as such from the start, and they dared to take a risk.

By releasing the album, they paid high a price. But they won, in the long run. They made an immortal work, and now it's hailed as a masterpiece of Japanese rock in the eighties.

The remaster edition of "Uwasa No Jinrui" will be released in August.

New Album is coming

It's too soon, you say? Of course the band just released an album a few months ago, but to tell the truth, they have already recorded enough material to fill an album about a year before the NYC session (which resulted in the "Uragoe" album) took place in May 2011. In fact, several tracks on the "Nikoselon Part Three" EP are from the 2010 session. And it seems they intend to release more from it in future.

Right now there is no information though. We'll let you know when things get clear.

May 24, 2012

Jazz Art Sengawa 2012

Jazz Art Sengawa is the best music event for jazz, avant-pop, and improvisation in Japan. This year's festival will be held on July 20-22.

The line-up is utterly impressive as always, and of course it includes Hikashu.

What makes this event so special is that it is curated and organized by musicians themselves. And it is for music cognoscenti. Just take a look at the line-up and you could see that clearly.

Also, geographically, it is very convenient if you are in Tokyo area. Sengawa is a town located in Chofu, westside of Tokyo. It could be accessed by Keio line, took 20 minutes from Shinjuku. There is an entry on Wikipedia about Sengawa Station, here

There are three venues used for this year's festival - Sengawa Theater, Kick Back Cafe, and Jenny's Kitchen. The line-up and ticket information are as follows.

July 9 update: Regarding the Sengawa Theater shows, 3 day Ticket and 1 day Ticket for July 21 are both sold out. For the other days, the supply is limited as well so better obtain them in hurry.

July 20, Friday

@ Sengawa Theater


Ito Hiromi (poetry reading), Sawai Kazue (koto)

Okuma Wataru (clarinet), Ohta Keisuke (violin), Sakurai Yoshiki (guitar), Kawaguchi Yoshiyuki (alto saxophone), Kita Yoichiro (trumpet), Sekijima Takero (tuba), Yoshida Tatsuya (drums), Kogure Miwazo (chin-dong)

@ Kick Back Cafe

Oorutaichi (voice, electronics), Tonchi (guitar, voice)

July 21, Saturday

@ Sengawa Theater

"Voice Play for Children"
Ootaka Shizuru (vocal), Carl Stone (computer, electronics), Sakamoto Hiromichi (cello)

"Open Session for Improvisation" [admission free]

Kurachi Fumio (vocal, guitar), Kikuchi Naruyoshi (tenor saxophone, keyboard), Sotoyama Akira (drums)

Pet Bottle Ningen
Dave Scanlon (guitar), Yoshida Nonoko (saxophone), Dave Miller (drums)

Fujiwara Kiyoto Trio plus Makigami Koichi
Fujiwara Kiyoto (bass), Davide Santorsola (piano), Fuke Shunsuke (drums), Makigami Koichi (voice, theremin)

Sakata Akira (alto saxophone, clarinet, vocal), Jim O'Rourke (guitar), Takaoka Daisuke (tuba), Yamamoto Tatsuhisa (drums)

@ Kick Back Cafe


@ Jenny's Kitchen

Saga Yuki (vocal), Mizutani Hiroaki (bass)

Fuwa Daisuke (bass), Izumi Kunihiro (alto saxophone, vocal)

Higashino Shoko (dance), Ichiraku Toshiyuki (drums), Sakamoto Hiromichi (cello)

Tokyo Slim
Katayama Hiroaki (tenor saxophone), Tatsumi Mitsuhide (trumpet), Takahashi Yasuyuki (trombone), Ino Nobuyoshi (bass), Yamaguchi Koichi (keyboards), Fujikake Masataka (drums)

July 22, Sunday

@ Sengawa Theater

"Sunday Matinee Concert" [admission free]
Fujiwara Kiyoto (bass)

mito from clammbon (guitar), Katsui Yuji (violin), Sakamoto Hiromichi (cello)

Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin, cornet, shakuhachi), Mita Freeman (guitar), Sakaide Masami (bass), Shimizu Kazuto (piano, bass-clarinet), Sato Masaharu (drums)

Oki Itaru (trumpet), Tchangodei (piano), Kikuchi Mari (hapner)

Umezu Kazutoki (alto saxophone), Kumagai Kazunori (tap), Shimizu Kazuto (piano), Winchester Nii Tete (percussions)

John Zorn's Cobra Sengawa Operation Sakamoto Hiromichi Unit
Tanaka Yoshikazu (alto saxophone), Pika (drums, voice), Goto Mariko (guitar, vocal), Nakajima Sachiko (piano), Takehisa Ken (drums), Fujikake Masataka (drums), Yoshino Hiroshi (bass), Yamakawa Fuyuki (voice) and others

@ Jenny's Kitchen

Yanagiya Koharu (vocal, shamisen), Ikezawa Ryusaku (drums)

Samm Bennett (vocal, guitar), Makigami Koichi (voice)

Higuchi Keiko (vocal), Kanda Shinichiro (piano)

Kato Takayuki (guitar) solo

The Producers of the festival are Makigami Koichi, Fujiwara Kiyoto, and Sakamoto Hiromichi.

Note: the time table for Jenny's Kitchen is to be announced. Some personnels are yet fixed as well. All subject to be updated.

June 11 update: The time table for Jenny's Kitchen added. Some personnels are updated.

Ticket information

Sengawa Theater:
All the tickets are available at Sengawa Theater box office.

3 day ticket - 12,000 yen

1 day ticket:
3,000 yen for July 20
5,000 yen each for July 21 and 22
The 1-day ticket applies for all program (except "Voice Play for Children" on July 21, which required 500 yen for advance or 1,000 yen at door separately - Free admission for children under 5 years old. Session for Improvisation, and Sunday Matinee Concert are admission free).
The prices here are for advance - plus 500 yen each at door.

1 stage ticket - 2,500 yen for each act, sold only on the day of the performance. Start selling at Sengawa Theater box office at 10:00 AM.

Please note: you can't see the shows if you have just the 1-day ticket or 3-day ticket only! For entrance, you need a pass, which issued for each day.

To obtain the pass, exchange your 1-day or 3-day ticket with it at the Sengawa Theater office. Need not to hurry - You should get the pass if you have the day's ticket.

Kick Back Cafe:
adv 3,500 yen - at door 4,000 yen for each day
(one drink or food order minimum)
tickets available at the venue. For reservation, call the cafe at 03-5384-1577 or mail to (Japanese)

Jenny's Kitchen:
1 day ticket
adv 3,500 yen - at door 4,000 yen
1 stage ticket
adv 1,500 yen - at door 2,000 yen for each act
ticket available at the Sengawa Theater box office

Remember - all the tickets are available limited quantities only, so better be in hurry.

Jazz Art Sengawa official site (Japanese)

Jazz Art Sengawa 2012 Facebook

For your reference:

Jazz Art Sengawa - Cellist Hiromichi Sakamoto and Japan's avant-garde build a home of their own Metropolis, August 25, 2011

Live Reports - Jazz Art Sengawa 2010 Metropolis, July 12, 2010

Jazz Art Sengawa on YouTube

Sengawa Theater

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Kick Back Cafe, Sengawa

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Jenny's Kitchen, Sengawa

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Jazz Art Sengawa 2011 digest

Related Entries:
Jazz Byobu After Dark
Jazz Art Sengawa 2010
Jazz Art Sengawa

May 16, 2012

A Concert Footage from a 2007 Jazz Event

It just recently came to our attention that a unpublished concert footage of Hikashu from 2007 has been surfaced at YouTube.

It was a showcase event of various jazz acts from new generation. Why Hikashu was chosen is unknown (they're not a jazz band, and not novice in any sence, you know) but maybe there was an intention introducing the band to jazz audiences.

Anyway, enjoy the clip. The band did some improvising before "Mottai Nai Hanashi," [A Waste of Inspiration] a selection from the "Hanauta Hajime" album. Their performance starts at 07:30.

Makigami Koichi Goes to Bergen, Norway in May-June

In late May and early June, Makigami Koichi will perform in Bergen, Norway. He will take part in two gigs - one is a solo performance, and the other is a collaboration with a free music unit called the Living Room Trio.

The Living Room Trio is a improvised music group consisted of Torben Snekkestad on saxophone, Thomas Strønen on drums, and Søren Kjærgaard on keyboards. Makigami has performed with them several times so they know each other somewhat well.

As for the solo performance, here's a blurb from the festival's site:

Voices and electronics from three musical, mental and geographical continents meet. The controversial Dave Phillips is known for his powerful musical stance on animal rights; Japanese Makigami Koichi's high register and noh-inspired dadaism is at the other end of the scale, while Tone Åse from Norway introduces the audience to the remarkable genre 'sound novella.'

May 31, 2012
Living Room Trio with Makigami Koichi
@ Natt Jazz
Bergen, Norway
start 23:30
For information, see the event's official site:

June 2, 2012
Dave Phillips, Makigami Koichi, and Tone Åse
"Three Strong Solos"
@ Bergen International Festival
Bergen, Norway
20:00 - 21:45

May 5, 2012

John Zorn's Cobra Tokyo Operation May 2012

On May 20, an another formation of John Zorn's Cobra will perform at La Mama of Shibuya, Tokyo.

What interesting this time is a participation of Mita Freeman from Hikashu. It's been a while Hikashu members (other than Makigami) taking part in Cobra, and no one can deny Mita is such a great improviser, so do not miss this opportunity.

John Zorn's Cobra Tokyo Operation
Sunshine Unit
"commemorating the eclipse"

Oshima Teruyuki, guitar
jimanica, drums
Uemura Masahiro, drums
Sato Erika, bass
Tatsumi Mitsuhide, trumpet
Nasuno Mitsuru, bass
Sakaguchi Mitsuo, keyboard
Orutaichi, vocal and electronics
Kawai Wakaba, trombone
Mita Freeman, guitar
Praha, oriental dance

Makigami Koichi, prompter

May 20, 2012
@ La Mama
Shibuya, Tokyo
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 3,000 yen - at door 3,500 yen
(plus 600 yen for a minimum drink charge at entrance)
Tickets available at La Mama box office, Lawson ticket, and e+

La Mama, Shibuya, Tokyo

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