Japanese for “sound circle,” Otonowa’s extensive jazz chops allow the ensemble to take Japanese tunes in fascinating new directions. The group first formed to perform a benefit concert for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Northern Japan in 2011. Starting with traditional Japanese folk melodies, some which date back as far as the 1700s, the group worked to re-imagine songs of their heritage from a jazz perspective.
After this initial concert, the ensemble re-grouped in the studio to record an album. In its review, Jazz Inside noted the group is “truly doing something very special here and it is a fine example of how music can break down cultural barriers and expose the commonality within us all.” They later took the project to Northern Japan to aid in relief efforts, and just conducted a successful crowd funding campaign to make possible their second journey there in July 2014.
Akira Tana is a native of San Jose and after a 20 yr career in NY has returned to San Jose. Come here the group in the KCSM Listening Lounge.
Akira Tana, drums, japanese percussion
Art Hirahara, piano
Masaru Koga, alto, soprano saxes, flute, shakuhachi, percussion
Noriyuki Ken Okada, bass