JAZU: Jazz from Japan. Review. Yutaka Oyama/Yusuke Shima - Wa Jazu vol. 2 PDF Stampa E-mail
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Lunedì 04 Febbraio 2019 00:00


JAZU: Jazz from Japan. Review. Yutaka Oyama/Yusuke Shima - Wa Jazu vol. 2

Todoroki Jazz Records - ATHO-4014 - 2018

Yutaka Oyama: tsugaru shamisen
Yusuke Shima: trumpet, flugelhorn, flute
Jun'ichi Saito: guitar
Masaki Ootawa: taiko, percussions


In Japanese, with the word "Wa" and its relative ideogram, meant in its ancient semantic interpretation, is conveyed a wide concept of peace and harmony but, in a more common sense, is referred to Japan itself, a country and society whose culture has been for centuries based upon a philosophy of harmony among the people inhabitating it as well as between that same people and the surrounding nature.
By extension, with the term "Wa Jazu", as this album is titled, is intented a jazz created and performed by Japanese musicians, or that contains within itself inherent characteristics of Japan's music tradition. Honoring these premises, it's up to shamisen player Yutaka Oyama to incarnate the Japanese spirit, whereas the essence of jazz is guaranteed by trumpet player Yusuke Shima, both leaders of a collaboration that, with this recording, counts its second release.
Even if between the music domains in which shamisen (instrument of Japanese music tradition similar to a three stringed long and slim-necked guitar, usually plucked by a plectrum called bachi) and the trumpet there is a great distance, Oyama and Shima are able to reduce and overlap such cultural discrepancies allowing an intriguing and dynamic music dialogue between instruments whose sound peculiarities here intertwine to create an unusual commixture. Moreover, it's to be underlined the fact that Oyama plays his instrument in a style, named tsugaru shamisen, that contemplates a major improvisational component, making it particularly amenable to such a project.
As happened in their first album, the selection of the tunes draws both from traditional Japanese music (Don Pan Bushi, Kono Michi), or inspired by it (Momiji, Chusetsu), and jazz repertoire (Autumn Leaves, My Favourite Things), leaving also room for pop hits such as Sting's Fragile or Beatles' Here, There and Everywhere.
To complete the blending of music influencies contribute Saito's guitar, holder of Latin accents (Club R and Aliento), and Ootowa's vibrant taiko drums, which often exalt the performances until reaching a catharsis that evokes ancient Japanese tribalisms.
The music presented by this band led by Koyama and Shima, as a matter of fact, manages to achieve the aim of bringing down the cumbersome boundaries among genres and styles moving itself ideally way beyond those of their home country.

Related Links:
Teaser trailer "Wa jazu": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTzhuBu4u-A&list=RDcTzhuBu4u-A&index=1
Autumn leaves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XGMQ4iyDz4
"Wa Jazu" live digest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpTLVVYwGH8

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