Tonight was the first performance of my Japan tour and I must admit that I was feeling a little timid having no idea what to expect until I arrived at the venue. The show was at Galerie Tzigane, a small and charming bar/live house not far from Osaka Castle. The bar has been run for the past 13 years by the equally charming Miyao Chiaki, who pulled up shortly after I arrived in a white Volkswagon Beetle and who I later learnt is a guitarist himself as well as an accessory/jewellery designer.
The line-up of musicians was impressive and it was a privilege to share the evening with Yasuyoshi Ogino (guitar), Christopher Fryman (trumpet), Yuri Nakasone (voice, electronics), Takashi Miyamoto (electric bass), and Yuji Haraguchi (drums). With the exception of Christopher, it was my first time to meet and perform with these musicians. We played a series of improv sets, rotating in trios, with myself as the common denominator on piano. I was also urged to play solo so I performed two of my compositions: Floating Point and the continuum of something–nothing. I was taken by the hush in the room as my fingers made their way through these quiet pieces. To end the evening, all 6 of us packed tightly onto the "stage" for a final set. As much as I enjoyed playing with each of these musicians, I wish that I could have been in the audience to just listen to and admire each of their playing.
Thank-you to Takashi Miyamoto for organizing this evening of adventurous music. It was a challenging, exciting, and fun start of my tour.
About the musicians:
Christopher Fryman was born in Manchester, England in 1941 during the Second World War and grew up in Canada. He lived in Sydney, Australia, and Papua New Guinea before moving to Japan in 1974. Christopher has worked as a documentary TV cameraman a composer of dance and film music, as well as a ballet character performer. His roles have included Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty, Dr. Coppelius in Coppelia, Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella, Drossellmayer in Nutcracker and Don Quixote in Don Quixote. He plays trumpet in many music ensembles including Bliki Circus (Gypsy Punk), Floating Room Duo (electronics/trumpet and guitar), Jazz Junction (big band), Greenhorn Jazz Orchestra (big band), Tone Friendlies (dance and Enka band) and performs trumpet for various Butoh dancers.
Yūji Haraguchi is a drummer based in Osaka. He is active as an improviser and session musician with artists of various genres.
Bassist and producer Takahashi Miyamoto has performed and recorded with countless artists in Japan and abroad. He is president of the music production label “Chord Production.” In 2017 he released his first solo album, “Polarization.”
Vocalist Yuri Nakasone studied popular vocal music at the Osaka College of Music Junior College Department. As a singer-songwriter, the YURISONE BAND performs regularly in and around Osaka and released the album released. "Starry sky in the water" in February 2018. As the improvisation duo "Tonal" Yuri uses extended vocal techniques and vocal effects in her performances. She also performs vocals in jazz and big band, CM logo and in chorus groups.
Guitarist, composer and improviser Yasuyoshi Ogino was born in Osaka and grew up in Nara Prefecture. His music is influenced by European jazz, South American music, heavy metal, classical, avant garde and pop music. He participated in the Jazz laboratory 'deafinado' at Osaka University of Foreign Studies. He obtained a Berklee College of Music Scholarship and studied abroad in 2002. From 2005, his involvement with the comedy/jazz punk trio, Wisdom Wisdom Collective, launched Ogino’s professional music career and he began to get involved in free improvisation, stage theater music, neo-folk and numerous other projects. In 2006 he started “sound, people, traveling” (oto na tabi) and made their nationwide debut tour in 2010 with their first album "Tinga Tinga Japonism." They released their 2nd album "Glocal Happiness Departure" in 2016. Ogino has studied guitar with Makoto Nakagawa, Hiroyuki Okamoto, Hirofumi Okamoto, Mike Stern, Hiroya Tsukamoto, Akira Shiromoto, and Gustavo Eiriz . In addition to performing, he has credits as a composer and arranger and has his own label "Oggi Records."