10年ぶりの再会〜「善の研究」との真の邂逅〜(A philosophical book I met for the first time in a decade)


In January I announced here I would try to write blog monthly this year, but I failed even only a month later, and now you see only the 4th blog of this year. Don't blame me. It's not too lazy I guess. So I wrote January, March, June and then October. 1, 3, 6, 10...It's a progression of differences, right? Maybe next one should be 10+5=15=3(15-12), March! Too lazy. (So what?)


Anyway I could spent some time reading books recently, and I met a really nice book that could be my lifetime treasure, which I've been reading for these couple months. It's a Japanese most renowned philosopher Kitaro Nishida's most famous work "An Inquiry into the Good". Actually I first met and got this more than ten years ago when I was a college student in Japan. At that time I started but couldn't continue, because it was just too difficult for me at a young age and I couldn't understand much what he meant. I felt like he was just saying some difficult thing. However, years passed and now I really understand what he means, which is kind of interesting happening. It's still difficult indeed but I can understand by reading and considering each word carefully and sometimes repeatedly. Nishida died at the age of 75, but he wrote this masterpiece only in his twenties to thirties.      He himself said "This is only my thoughts during my youth." But even because of that, there are some beautiful and strong passion and belief in this book reflected by the young person's contemplation and insight so that it attracts me greatly. In short his philosophy has full of enthusiasm. I will show some impressive words of him below.




Sorry these original words of him are Japanese only! I can't translate...You should check these sites for English info about this book:
I think it really worth reading.


These words just give me some bravery. I think the best part of reading is that you can simulate our predecessors' life experiences and find sympathy for their ideas or feelings. I always feel like there are three books that have had the biggest influence on my life and thoughts. Soseki Natsume's "My Individualism", which I read when I was a high school student; Taro Okamoto's "Art Today", and "The Book of Tea" by Tenshin Okakura, both of which I met during my college years in Japan, are those three. Now I got another one to add to this list. I feel happy about it.    


Lastly but not least, there will be very exciting two gigs in the next two months. I'm very much looking forward to them and with these it should be a great end of this year. Two quartets with my most favorite musicians in the scene! Hope you can join us!

◆Kazuki Yamanaka Quartet "Live at Brooklyn in Fall 2018"◆

11/11(Sun) 7:00pm〜8:30
Kazuki Yamanaka (alto sax)
Dana Saul (piano)
Luca Rosenfeld (bass)
Billy Mintz (drums)
Scholes Street Studio (in Williamsburg)

375 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY 11206
$20 cover

Vol. 2 
12/16 (Sun) 8:00pm〜9:30
Kazuki Yamanaka (alto sax)
Russ Lossing (piano)
Cameron Brown (bass)
Gerald Cleaver (drums)
@IBeam Brooklyn (in Park Slope)
168 7th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
$20 cover

"Gigs and Albums that have inspired me lately"

Ravi Coltrane Quartet @Birdland 06.30.18
(w/David Virelles, Noah Garebedian, Jeff Tain Watts)
Tony Malaby Quartet @Cornelia Street Cafe 07.28.18
(w/Ben Monder, Tim Dahl, Gerald Cleaver)
Ben Monder Quartet @Cornelia Street Cafe 08.10.18
(w/Chris Cheek, Carmen Rothwell, Mark Ferber)
Lee Konitz Nonet @Jazz Standard 08.14.18
(w/Ohad Talmor, Jacob Sacks, Chris Tordini, George Schuller and others)
Julian Lage with Kris Davis and Dave King @The Stone 08.18.18
Bill Frisell and Andrew Cyrille @The Stone 08.23.18
Cameron Brown's OC/DC @Cornelia Street Cafe 08.30.18
(w/Jane Ira Broom, Lisa Parrot, Anthony Pinciotti)
Joe Lovano Quartet @Village Vanguard 09.02.18
(w/Lawrence Fields, Marc Johnson, Andrew Cyrille)
Steve Wilson & The Analog Band @Jazz Standard 09.08.18
(w/ Shedrick Mitchell, Ben Williams, Willie Jones III)
Dan Weiss Starebaby @Nublu 9.19.18
(w/ Ben Monder, Matt Mitchell, Craig Taborn, Trevor Dunn)

Avishai Cohen “Into The Silence” (2016)
Keith Jarrett “Belonging” (1974)
Ravi Coltrane “From The Round Box” (1999)
Kenny Dorham “Quiet Kenny” (1959)
Jon Gordon “Evolution” (2009)
Billy Hart “Quartet” (2006)
Loren Stillman “Blind Date” (2007)
McCoy Tyner “Quartet” (2007)
Rudresh Mahanthappa “Bird Calls” (2015)
Steve Coleman “The Sonic Language Of Myth” (1999)
Chick Corea “Return To Forever” (1972)
Kurt Rosenwinkel “Remedy” (2008)
Hal Galper “Reach Out” (1977)
Chick Corea “Remembering Bud Powell” (1996)
Joe Lovano & Aldo Lomano "Ten Tales" (1989)
Dave Holland Quartet “Extensions” (1989)
Steve Racy “Reflections” (1959)
Sam Rivers "Contours" (1965)


Upcoming: Trio w/ Russ Lossing & Cameron Brown

June 2018 (6月)


I'm very much looking forward to a gig, which is coming up next month. This gig is the one that I've really wanted to do for a long time. I'll be playing with great two gentlemen. I have met a lot of people for these six months and these two guys are among those new people. I'm very thankful to have met them and finally get a chance to play with them.


Russ Lossing on piano and Cameron Brown on bass.


I kinda just met Russ recently, and when I first heard him I was totally knocked out by his playing. I don't really know pianists who play as good as him. Also he has been a sideman for many of my favorite musicians. You can see who he has played for on his website.
Especially, this is I think just a coincidence, but he has joined some recordings of my favorite ALTO players such as Loren Stillman, John O'Gallagher and Michael Attias. Besides, Russ has played with some legends like Paul Motian, Billy Hart and John Abercrombie. He is definitely one of the finest pianists at the jazz scene in New York, especially in Brooklyn underground.


It'll be my second time playing with Cameron. He is 72 years old yet still at the height of rendition, and every single note of his is tremendous. In his half-century career, Cameron has played with such legends as Art Blakey, Chet Baker, Mal Waldron, Lee Konitz, Archie Shepp, Dewey Redman, George Adams, Joe Lovano and so many others. So he himself is a living legend.
Cameron's website: www.jazzhalo.be/musicians-files/cameron-brown/


Russ and Cameron have played together so many times in so many situations. It's a great combination strongly tied. I actually checked out their duo last month and it sounded amazing.


So this will be so much fun. I really hope to see my friends in New York there! Even also friends in Japan! I'm writing new compositions for this. So you'll hear mostly my original compositions.

◆Kazuki Yamanaka | Russ Lossing | Cameron Brown◆
7/7(Sat) 7:00pm〜8:30
@Spectrum NYC (スペクトラムNYC・ブルックリン)
70 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY11205
$15 cover

|| Gigs & Albums that have inspired me lately ||

Guillermo Klein & Los Gauchos @Village Vanguard 5.27.18
Sullivan Fortner Trio (Matt Brewer, Marcus Gilmore) with Peter Evans @Jazz Standard 5.26.18
The Dave Liebman Group "Expansion" @Smoke 5.19.18
Russ Lossing & Cameron Brown Duo @Mezzrow 5.14.18
Steve Coleman & Five Elements @Village Vanguard 5.13.18
Lena Bloch's Feathery @IBeam Brooklyn 5.12.18 
Fred Hersch & Miguel Zenon Duo @Jazz Standard 5.10.18
Ethan Iverson with Billy Harper, Buster Williams & Billy Hart @Jazz Standard 4.17.18
SF Jazz Collective @Jazz Standard 4.14.18

Paul Motion "On Broadway Vol.5" (2009)
Ralph Alessi "Quiver" (2016)
Loren Stillman "It Could Be Anything" (2005)
Loren Stillman "How Sweet It Is" (2003)
Bobby Avey "Authority Melts from Me" (2014)
Chris Potter "The Dreamer Is The Dream" (2017)
Russ Lossing "Personal Tonal" (2010)
Woody Shaw "Woody III" (1979)
John O'Gallagher "Abacus" (2006)
Ethan Iverson "Live At Smalls" (2000)
Marc Copland "Some More Love Songs" (2012)
Joe Lovano "Flights Of Fancy -Trio Fascination Edition Two" (2001)
Enrico Rava "New York Days" (2009)
Jon Gordon "Possibilities" (2000)
Michael Brecker "Pilgrimage" (2007)


Expansion & Convergence: アーティストとしての拡張と収束について

March 2018 (3月)











Last time I wrote here that I would keep updating this blog every month, but it's been two months already...I would say it's ok that only two months passed...haha

These two months have been without big change, but I've done something and prepared for a change that should come up in the near future. More exactly, it's a change that "I hope" will come up. This kind of time that I've spent for these couple months is like sowing seeds and sort of fun, I think.

Anyway some interesting thought came up to me recently.

I think there are two things in artists' learning process: "EXPANSION" and "CONVERGENCE".

"Expansion" means that artists learn to do something that they are not able to do and strengthen their technique, expand musical ideas that are not acquired yet. It can be said expanding their capacity and possibility.

On the other hand, "convergence" means that artists look into their inside, think about who I am as an artist, and search what I really want to do or want to be. It sounds like discovering their own personalities.

If you are an artist, it might be no value that you do something same as someone else do. You need to search your own worth. This is why "convergence" is required. However, we should develop ability that the art's history or perspective wants, or that the times and communities demand. And most important, if you want to acquire an brilliant originality like real jewels, I don't think you can do it without "expansion".

In other words, "expansion" is to pursue wants and "convergence" is to give them up.

So how am I about this matter? I don't think I can give up my wants yet. I actually had time to throw them away in these few years, but it seems like it was too early. I'm still spending time to expand myself.

But I guess that the time to throw wants away will come at some point in my life. It should be still far away though. I think that at that point to give up my wants must lead to expansion. I mean, "convergence" should become "expansion". This is the point that artists have to reach someday, even though it's not a last stop. I guess there will be another journey going on afterwards.

|| Gigs & Albums that have inspired me lately ||

Tierney Sutton at Birdland 2.24.18
Craig Taborn & Ches Smith at National Sawdust 2.28.18
Ben Wendel "Seasons Band" w/Gilad Hekselman, Aaron Parks, Matt Brewer, Eric Harland at Village Vanguard 3.4.18
Fred Hersch | Drew Gress | Billy Hart at Village Vanguard 3.11.18
Claudia Quintet by John Hollenbeck at Miller Theatre at Columbia University 3.24.18

Kenny Wheeler & Brian Dickinson "Still Waters" (1999)
Drew Gress "Heyday" (1998)
Chet Baker & Paul Bley "Diane" (1985)
Craig Taborn "Avenging Angel" (2011)
Paul Motion Trio "I Have The Room Above Her" (2005)
Paul Motion Trio "One Time Out" (1989)
Ralph Alessi & Fred Hersch "Only Many" (2013)
Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley (1961)
Archie Shepp "On This Night" (1965)
Sonny Rollins "Our Man In Jazz" (1962)
David Binney "Lifted Land" (2013)
Charles Lloyd Quartet "Journey Within" (1967)


New Year's resolution and Charles Lloyd

January 2018 (1月)




ちょうど数日前にCharles Lloydを生で聴いたのだが、彼ほどの境地に達してしまえばそんな矮小なカテゴライズなどもはや意味をなさない。そこにはただ彼自身の音楽が唯一無二のものとして存在している。Lee KonitzやWayne Shorterもそうだと思う。あるいはJoe Lovanoのように何事もなく枠を横断していく人もいる。僕もそういう音楽家になりたい。でもそのためには色々と回り道をすることも大事だと思っている。狭い枠にとどまらず、貪欲にいようと思う。それにしてもLloydの音は美しかった。

I decided to make this blog more fruitful. I mean, I'll write monthly probably. Also I finally started writing in English as well, which should be challenging and fun. I hope some of my non-Japanese friends enjoy. (Please let me know when you find some weird or elusive sentences!) 

This year I'll try to put ideas into action more positively. Last year, if anything, I had much time to ponder about music and myself. In that sense, last year was "static" one. I think this year will be "dynamic" one instead. Taking action sometimes causes a negative result, but I think most of the results eventually bring positive effects. I feel like doing rather than thinking this year no matter what results come. I'm kind of a person who like to take risks and travel to some unknown place, I guess...

Recently I have faced various music in a field of jazz with equal interests and love. I think this feeling is new to me and kind of achievement that it takes a long time to get. Traditional Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Avantgarde Jazz...Even though these words are just for categories for convenience's sake, anyway I enjoy all of these music discovering some new things nowadays. Since I came to New York in 2012, my musical inspiration has never stayed in one thing and moved forward. If I pick up one point, for example, last year I was really into some Avantgarde Jazz scene. Now I feel these travels made a round finally and it's just joy to reach all the jazzy music with same amount of love.

Just a few days ago, I saw Mr. Charles Lloyd performing live at the Metropolitan museum. For great people like him, categorizing means nothing. There is just his own music, nothing else. So are Lee Konitz and Wayne Shorter. Or there are some people who can just cross over those genres very naturally, like Joe Lovano. I want to be that kind of musician. But for that purpose, I think we should take the long way around. I'll say to myself "Don't be a picky but be hungry". (I mean, don't stay in a limited way but be open-minded) 

By the way Mr. Lloyd sounded simply beautiful... 

Charles Lloyd and The Marvels 01.27.18 @The Met

This month's highlight: Playing with Kevin B. Clark (guitar) and great Cameron Brown (bass)!
01.21.18 @Bush Holley House in Greenwich, CT

Live performances and albums that have inspired me lately:

Eric Alexander and Harold Mabern featuring Jimmy Cobb at Smoke 12.23.17
Vijay Iyer Sextet at Birdland 01.10.18
Ambrose Akinmusire & Aaron Parks at The Stone 01.21.18
Charles Lloyd and The Marvels at The Metropolitan museum 01.27.18

Ches Smith, Craig Taborn, Mat Maneri "The Bell" (2016)
Stanley Turrentine & The Three Sounds "Blue Hour" (1961)
Lee Konitz "The New York Album" (1988)
David Binney "Cities And Desire" (2006)
John O'Gallagher "Line Of Sight" (2004)
Oscar Peterson Trio + One Clark Terry (1964)