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Home » Archives » August 2005 » Modern Japanese Big Band and Jazz

Modern Japanese Big Band and Jazz

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 Posted: 11:19 AM JST

In the 40s Big Band was huge in the States. Think of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Count Basie and countless others. After the end of the war their tunes were introduced to Japan and became immensely popular here. But almost always in their original English versions. Now 60 years after the end of WWII, Jazz and Big Band are once again big in Japan. Japan swings again!

Not as a nostalgic going back to the days of youth, but as a completely new sound for young people. New bands with musicians in their teens and twenties have discovered the sounds of Jazz and Big Band and have fallen in love with it in a big way.

No cover versions of English language originals here, but completely new Japanese creations. Japanese never sounded better, Jazz and Big Band never sounded fresher. These musicians experiment and come up with amazing sounds. A true Asian Jazz and Big Band sound.

The two names that stand out in this new wave are Ego Wrappin' (Jazz) and Aiko Okumura (Big Band). Both feature female singers who with their very Japanese voices create something ethereal, almost eerie. Yet, it swings, and swings good! Highly recommended.

Keywords: culture_news

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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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