In the Summer of 2019, I got together with some young Japanese in the recording studio to lay down some future Jazz tracks. It was all original music that challenged and exhilarated us. We used crowdfunding to pay for the recording which easily covered our expenses. We had many enthusiastic fans and supporters who were all excited to hear our songs recorded.

Future Jazz is what these fine young members are continuing to play.
Members are left to right: Naoki Isobe – Bass, Harumo Imai – Sax, Von Baron – Drums, Aiko Yoshiba – Keys

As, Fall of 2019 set in, we were picking up steam and getting many offers to play at Jazz Festivals and clubs throughout Japan. We were selling tons of CD’s and merchandise at all of our shows. Things were really starting to blow up and we were excited. As we looked toward many more gigs together in 2021, the unthinkable happened, a pandemic.

Live Future Jazz no more

From March 2020, everything stopped and all of our gigs were cancelled. It was like getting whiplash from hitting the brakes too hard. Whatever momentum we had was gone and we were left greatly unfulfilled. Our fans too were very disappointed. Our story is not unique (so many of my American musician friends have suffered this same fate), however, it has been a challenging time to say the least.

Future Jazz Quartet Recording

There is though, a silver lining to this story. WE HAVE A KICK-ASS RECORDING! I am so proud of the songwriting, arranging, playing and recording on our CD, FLYING HUMANOID. We played without fear and our only musical boundary was our infinite creativity. I think this album also represents some of my finest drumming to date.

Future Jazz is what we aimed to record as the Future Jazz Quartet.

We managed to fuse Jazz, Hip-Hop, Classical and Soul music into a cohesive, powerful sound. Put it this way, if you came to one of our shows with a perm, your hair would be straight by the end of the show. This recording captured that feeling so well that our fans have even said that if sounds and feels just like one of our live shows.

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The Future of Jazz

As you may know, I am mostly a “straight-ahead” kind of Jazz drummer. I don’t often get called to play this kind of music which is why, I was particularly excited for this performing and recording opportunity. All members of the band, including myself, composed songs for the project. My two songs are Autumn in Akita and Freestyle.

Autumn in Akita was inspired from a beautiful tree I viewed from my hotel room window in the Fall of 2018 while performing in Akita, Japan. Freestyle was inspired from my love of Hip-Hop music. Every track on this album takes you on a journey musical surprises. I think you’ll agree that it’s a one-of-a-kind sonic experience.

The exact tree that inspired me to write Autumn in Akita

The other band members were much younger than me which was great energy to be around. That’s why I came up with the name The Future Jazz Quartet. I believe will play a role in the future of Jazz music in Japan with their forward-thinking compositions and playing.

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Keep moving forward

In spite of 2020 being such a challenging year for every musician around the world, we just keep on keepin’ on. We’ll see what the future holds for the Future Jazz Quartet. For now, however, take a minute and check out our album Flying Humanoid. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

In Summer of 2019, 3 young Japanese musicians and I recorded some future Jazz tracks. Little did we know what the future would hold.
At the FLYING HUMANOID recording session.

Stayed tuned drummers. I’ll be releasing drumless tracks and charts for these songs in the future! KEEP ON DRUMMIN’ Y’ALL!

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Here are the links to the other band members. They are all monster musicians and doing great things. Pleaes go check ’em out!

今井晴萌 Harumo Imai (tenor sax)
葭葉愛子 Aiko Yoshiba (pf/key)
磯部直樹 Naoki Isobe (bass)

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Categories: ON THE BANDSTAND

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