What Can a Japanese Pasta Chef Teach You About Jazz?

I continue to be very busy lately between teaching and gigging, so apologies for letting things be so “dark” around here. Tonight (Saturday, September 26, 2015) I’ll be performing at the Kinston Ballroom in Knoxville, TN for the Knoxville Lindy Exchange with the Gamble/Wilson Swing Orchestra. I really enjoy playing with big bands and this one will be especially fun because I usually end up having to be the music director and deal with all the business stuff when I do big band gigs. This time I get to be a sideman and just enjoy playing.

In the mean time, a bassist who grew up in New Jersey and New York went on tour to Japan and learned how to play jazz from a Japanese pasta chef.

The chef’s name was Toshiaki Yanase, and cooking pasta wasn’t even his main gig; he also ran a small fruit stand! His life story, and his dishes ended up being symbolic to much of what I experienced in the country, and drew some interesting parallels to improving in music. I was on tour with a wonderful Japanese pianist named Yuki Futami. And while traveling throughout the country, inspiring encounters like these were all too common-some directly related to music, and others like in the case with Toshi, perhaps a bit more metaphorical. I’d like to share some of the lessons I learned during my stay.

Weekend Gigs

Low-Down Sires LogoI’ve got some public gigs coming up this weekend, if you’re in the areas. Tomorrow night, Friday September 11, 2015, I will be performing with the Low-Down Sires at the White Horse Black Mountain, in Black Mountain, NC. The White Horse is a great music venue with good acoustics and sound system and a comfortable environment for both listening and dancing. With this show we will probably be focusing more on the listening end of the spectrum to fit the typical audience there, but everything we play is also suitable for swing dancing, if you’re into that. The show starts at 8 pm.

Speaking of dancing, the Sires will be off to Durham, NC the next day, Saturday September 12, 2015, to perform for the Triangle Swing Dance Society’s dance at Murphey School. There’s a dance lesson at 7 PM and the dance starts at 8.

If you’re able to make one (or both!) of these shows please come say hello on one of our breaks.