I returned home last night from Japan (after a 25-hour travel..). I had a great time and I loved to play with this particular line-up: Roy Assaf on piano, Jaska Lukkarinen on drums and Ape Anttila on bass. Thanks also very much to Kengo Nakamura (bass) and Shinichiro Kamoto (drums) with whom we (me and Roy) performed at the Yokohama Jazz Promenade, which by the way, was spectacular – close to 1000 people in the amazing Minato Mirai Hall.
During the 2-an-a-half-week tour we managed to ‘meet’ a typhoon twice – or almost 3 times – since on the night before we traveled the typhoon was just getting stronger, but we still got out of the way so that our flights were not cancelled.. However, we did a good bit of traveling while in Japan – by Shinkansen of course (and a couple of times by ordinary train when there was no Shinkansen connection available). I suppose we traveled some 7500+ kilometers by train over there…
The artistic highlights of the tour were probably at Someday in Tokyo or Mokkiriya in Kanazawa – like usually those tend to appear towards the end of a tour. Also Sunny Side in Nagoya was very much happening. This last-mentioned club, despite it’s fairly odd situation in the city, is an extremely good place to perform. The stage is pretty much perfect and the sound of the room is great, and the also serve good food there. I wish more people would find that place, because it is a serious place for jazz! Another great place is of course the Left Alone in Ashiya, which is being managed by Ryo san, who is a very nice guy and a gentleman, and who knows how to run a great jazz club. Their kitchen is extraordinary, the venue is beautiful, the sound is great and the whole staff is kind and funny and listens to the music being performed ! What else could you ask from a club? Well, maybe sometimes more audience but let’s not get to that topic right now…
However, I really enjoyed the playing and the hangs on this tour. The music really got better and better along the way, and what was maybe even more important, is that every night sounded totally different than the others!
Thanks for reading, I try to send updates more regularly from now on..!
All the best, Pekka