Le Jazz Cette Semaine ...
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We are about halfway through our tour in Japan and we’re still standing. It has been quite an experience. Generally after work we come back the hotel exhausted and Leslie drifts off to sleep to the sounds of BBC (the only station we can understand) on TV. As for me I’m still wired (as usual). Tomorrow we don’t have to be up and out early so this is why I decided to enjoy a Japanese beer and take a moment to write at 1:43 AM. Since we’ve been here I have sampled a number of different types of sake but after a while it is difficult to remember which one I like best so I stick with beer until I have more time to work this problem out.
View of Tokyo from our hotel room.
The gigs have been a blast. We have worked in both small rooms that seat 30-40 people and larger rooms that seat 90-100. Most every gig has been sold out. We have been fortunate to work with some great local musicians. They speak very little English so we communicate by singing the way we want things played. That’s the way it should be anyway regardless of language barriers. Things got off to a slow start in the first rehearsal because they were so intent on reading the charts perfectly. I took the music off the drummer’s stand so he would realize that it was better to rely on his instinct. From then on things loosened up and by the second second set that night they were both playing great and the four of us sounded like a band.
Me, Akira and Masayuki at Satin Doll in Tokyo.
I had no idea how many CD’s to expect to sell so I brought what I thought was appropriate based on past experience. We sold them all in the first three gigs! Fortunately our Japanese promoter still has copies of our first CD which he released in Japan a few years ago, but I don’t have any of the other CD's to sell here. I somehow always manage to find new ways to lose money!
Leslie has been singing great! I think the fact that all of her work since leaving California has been singing jazz has really allowed her to take things up to another level. She has been very well received here and we get treated very well. Once we get back to Paris and get a chance to catch our breathe we have some ideas for some new projects. I am excited for this up coming year. I am going off on a tangent here but it does relate to the previous sentence. We have begun to learn how things work in France in order to get booked into jazz festivals. We have been trying for the past year and have made little, if any, progress. We did get booked for a festival this summer in Chamonix. This is how it worked. (I am obviously not sure how to correctly punctuate this sentence.) A friend’s veterinarian’s, wife’s, cousin knew the person who booked this festival! And that is how we were able to get the booking. Now back to Japan.
This is an amazingly quiet city. It is quieter on the street here than it is in our apartment in Paris. This afternoon I heard someone honk their car horn and it startled me. It is also very clean and orderly. I was surprised to see direction lanes on the floors in the subways. And I was more surprised that people actually followed them. In Paris people just run into to each other. The people here are very gracious and they actually do their jobs!
Park in Ueno, Tokyo.
We have added quite a few dates in or near Paris between December 13th and the 31st. So if you live in Paris or are going to be visiting please check http://www.surfcovejazz.com for more information.
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Until next time ...