All That Jazz!

For the first time in my 10 years of attending the Jozenji Street Jazz Festival,
I can actually call it a Jazz Festival in more than just name. In the past (2006-Sat, 2006-Sun, 2007-Sat, 2007-Sun, 2008, 2009-Flea Market only), I have noted that the Jazz Fest is remarkably Jazz-free and features all other possible genres except Jazz. This year was a welcome change and I heard more Jazz today than I have in all the past years combined!

Granted you have to stretch the definition of Jazz a tad to include Funk as with the first band I saw, FREEFUNK, who provided a great way to start the day! They even played a tune that featured the Funky Chicken and got the audience clucking along with them!

But before I even saw them, I filled out a questionnaire for a Lions Mansion condo (for which I gave a phony address, I don't want to get on their mailing list) and I won an official Jazz fest Beer Mug that includes a beer for 50¥! Or so I thought, for once I met old pal, Aoki, he pointed out that it's actually 50¥ off at the Kirin Beer-Mobile. I had a tasty Stout but we stuck to cheap Conbini-beers after that. Since I'm low on cash, I bought a 6-pack via Visa and we milked them for most of the afternoon.

We started our walkabout with a sax solo by ピノキオ (Pinocchio) and then heard some Bigband by Dr ** & スクラッチ (Dr Unknown Kanji & Scratch...forgive me if I can't read some of the kanji and the online link to the Jazz fest gives me NO help at all to the schedule.)

We heard the TECHNOPOLIS JAZZ TRIO play ジャズコンボ (Jazz Combo) in メディアテーク (Mediatech) and then we listened to an old man sing an older standard. He was very good and his groups name was Adlibitum (the original Latin from which we get Ad Lib!)

Our tummies were rumbling so we head over to Nishi Park to indulge in the ワールドキッチン (World Kitchen) where we had some nice Thai Chicken and wandered through the Flea Market. Due to budgetary limitations, I didn't buy as much as last year (see above) but I did find a couple of choice items. Chucky for only  50¥ and a Godzilla bag for only 100¥! I love the statement, "GODZILLA IN NEW YORK. Hi! My name is Godzilla™. Playing in New York City gave me an appetite. That's why I'm at Mister Donut. Watch out!"

En route back, we happened upon the Giant 89ers mascot and Aoki and I tried our hand at shooting hoops. I got 43 points in 30 seconds and won some stickers, he only got 37 and received a measly postcard.

Continuing on, we happened upon what turned out to be my favourite group of the day, a swing band called InfiniT. You can tell how much I liked them by the amount of photos taken. It also gave me a chance to shake my booty much to the delight of the onlookers. (I found a Youtube of them from 2 years ago!)

A quick shot of an all-girl a capello Gospel band, a brief hop on a train and another ジャズコンボ with ギガトーンズ  (Giga-tones) found us back in Mediatech for a pee-break and a view of MHKM quartet. Btw, can anyone identify this flower for us? Locals thought it was Lavender and then rescinded their identification.

Lo and behold and who should tap upon my shoulder but none other than co-worker Yifan who was wandering the streets solo. She joined our motley duo on our trip back towards the 勾当台公園 (Kotodai-park) where we saw a nifty Blues band and then the rain began...

Damp & undaunted, we trekked to the next Park (name unknown) and watched a super Ska band (Zndada ORCHESTRA) until the rain let up.

Yifan wanted to hear country and OFF-BEAT TIME provided us with some Bluegrass & Dixieland. I taught her a quick two-step that we danced amidst the befuddled crowd.

We heard another Bluesish group, grabbed a few more beers and hunkered down to listen to the finale at the main stage.

The warm-up was a very effeminate Barbershop Quartet who obviously pulled some strings to get such a primo spot & slot, so I dubbed them "Gayzuka". The penultimate band that we saw was a surprisingly excellent BigBand, surprising because the final groups usually suck. We left at 7:00 with a happy glow, walked to the station and went our separate ways. Upon return home, I got an email from a friend who remained to the end and she said that the final group was a horrible Jazz/HipHop concoction thus once again proving the "final bands always suck" theory.

What will tomorrow bring I wonder?...stay tuned!

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