Ever since it was introduced in the 1920s, jazz has flourished in Osaka, the cultural hub of Japan.
Although most people incorrectly believe that the neighboring city of Kobe was the birthplace of jazz in Japan, jazz was first introduced in Osaka, which gave it a warm welcome and nurtured it as if it were an indigenous form of music. (Details on the introduction of jazz into Osaka and its early history will be available on this web site at a later date.)
Throughout the years, musicians both professional and amateur and fans in Osaka have embraced jazz and the culture that surrounds it. The city’s vibrant atmosphere and its fun-loving citizens are conducive to jazz, which just adds to its power to bring people together and bring down ethnic and cultural barriers.

Although Japan’s political and economical center was moved from nearby Kyoto to Tokyo at the end of the 19th century, Osaka remains as Japan’s cultural hub. And while many people consider Tokyo and New York to be similar, I think that Osaka and New York are more comparable, just due to fact that both cities are the home to a thriving music and arts scene and their citizens affectionately, if not enthusiastically, embrace it for both its artistic and entertainment values. It is my opinion that people in Tokyo are much cooler and approach music and the arts more objectively, which is something I think equates Tokyo more with Los Angeles than New York. Osakans are subjective when it comes to anything of cultural value.

As a disc jockey for the past twenty years, my main program focuses on jazz (World Jazz Warehouse, FM COCOLO, 76.5MHz). Not only do I play music from world famous jazz musicians both old and new, I regularly feature local Osaka musicians and their fine musical contributions. I also do my best to inform listeners of upcoming jazz festivals and concerts and recommended gigs taking place at any of the fifteen jazz clubs in central Osaka alone that over live music on the nightly basis. Moreover, I also produce and emcee performances at festivals, various events and restaurants and venues that don’t usually offer live music.

Two such annual happenings took place in days following International Jazz Day Osaka 2014. One of them was Takatsuki Jazz Street 2014, a two-day free music festival held in Takatsuki, a city located about 20 minutes from Osaka. This year, the 16th time for this popular event that attracts up to 120,000 persons, the main guests were singer Diane Schurr and tenor sax player Lew Tabackin.

Showcasing music ranging from jazz to soul, R&B, gospel and blues, this year’s Takatsuki Jazz Street featured more than 750 bands performing at 54 different venues of varying sizes. Takatsuki Gendai Hall, which seats 2,000, hosted performances by both main guests as well as music by Hironobu Saito, a Berklee College-trained guitarist now based in New York, a popular jam band indigo jam unit and Tokyo-based pianist Yutaka Shiina with visiting British musicians Ed Jones and Damien Brown.

Among the numerous outdoor stages placed at strategic locations in downtown Takatsuki, the FM COCOLO Stage hosted a line-up of 19 bands fit for its large scale, an elementary school athletic ground accommodating up to 2,000 persons. Headlining bands included the Global Jazz Orchestra, the Mahogany Hall Stompers featuring Australian trumpeter Geoff Bull, the Hong Soon Dal Jazz Band with singer Park Raon from South Korea, contemporary jazz units Apple Jack and Vermilion Field, and an always popular performance by Fried Pride, a powerful singer and guitar duo from Tokyo, who this year welcomed violinist Junko Makiyama and veteran singer Yoko Kon as special guests.

Takatsuki Jazz Street takes place every year on May 3 & 4. For more info access:

The other annual happening in the days after International Jazz Day Osaka 2014 was the Osaka Big River Jazz Festival 2014. Held outdoors at Osaka Amenity Park along the Okawa River, this festival showcases New Orleans style traditional jazz. Ten bands composed of both amateur and professional musicians played on a stage set up under the venue’s roof, due to the unfortunate rain that fell throughout the day.
Playing in pre-1950 style for the most part, these bands are part of a unique jazz culture in Osaka that preserves traditional jazz from its birthplace in a way that is no longer played in New Orleans itself.
However, whenever I bring one of these bands to perform in New Orleans, they are greeted warmly and feverishly accepted due to the fact that what they play can no longer be heard there regularly.

Composed of college students who travelled from Tokyo by overnight bus in order to appear, the Waseda University Jazz Club Band was one of the afternoon’s highlights. Other memorable performances were given by the New Orleans Rascals, a band that was formed 52 years ago, and two other bands with performing experience in New Orleans: the Mahogany Hall Stompers and the New Orleans Red Beans.

The Osaka Big River Jazz Festival is held every year on May 5. For details access:




この20年間ほど、DJとして活動し、主な番組(FM COCOLO 76.5MHzのワールド・ジャズ・ウエアハウス)は、ジャズの専門番組。世界的に有名なミュージシャンだけではなく、大阪ローカルのミュージシャンと彼らの優れた音楽も取り挙げている。リスナーには、今回のジャズフェスティバルとコンサート、大阪の都心で毎晩ジャズの生演奏が楽しめる15以上のジャズクラブでのお薦めライブをできるだけ知らせようとしている。また、フェスティバル、イベント、普段生演奏がないレストランなどでジャズ演奏を企画し、自ら司会もやっている。



高槻市のメインスペースに設置された野外ステージの中で、2千人が収容できる小学校のグランドにあったFM COCOLOステージでは、その雰囲気に合う19バンドが出演した。主要なバンドは、オーストラリア出身のトランペット奏者ジェフ・ブルをゲストにしたマホーガニー・ホール・ストンパーズ、韓国から来日したホン・スンダル・ジャズバンドと女性ヴォーカルのパク・ラオン、現代ジャズを演奏するアップルジャックとバーミリオンフィールドという2バンドや今年ヴィオリン奏者牧山純子とベテラン歌手今陽子をゲストとして迎えた女性ヴォーカルとギターのフライド・プライドだった。





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