music: shibusashirazu orchestra
Although jazz has it's roots here in America, there are many international hotbeds of jazz providing plenty of ear candy that is pushing the boundaries of music. While most of these hotbeds are in Europe, there is no question that Japan is home to a lot of innovative stuff. Perhaps the wildest example of Japanese jazz comes from the extravaganza that is the Shibusashirazu Orchestra, although their music encompasses far more than just jazz.
Here's how the band's website introduces these guys:
Just like our japanese name 'Shibusashirazu' (loosely translated: "Never Be Cool") says, we don't stay within the 'cool' frame of jazz bigbands. We reach over into Rock, Japanese Enka, Japanese Pops, Latin, Folk Music, Groove, House and - let's not forget - Jazz.
Our lineup consists of about 20 musicians - the most skillful and creative players in Japan - as well as singers, butoh-dancers, groovedance girls, artists and actors/JapTrad performers. In addition we turn the stage itself into a piece of art with live painting, japanimation screens, stage decoration, and balloon creatures (e.g. a flying dragon of 20m length!). In short, our stage is a big interaction of multimedia, art and improvised music. We are original, and we dare to say: No other band like us exists anywhere on the planet...
I'd love to be able to see them live one day, although they've actually never performed here in America. They of course perform regularly in Japan and they also tour Europe from time to time. Their albums are also unavailable here in the States, although that hasn't stopped me from acquiring a couple of them.
As you'll quickly find out once you take a listen to some of the songs being offered below, their sound is absolutely relentless. Not only is their music loud, but it's also fast, complex, and as rich as Belgian dark chocolate (which I happen to be munching on right now). Below are songs from two of their studio releases as well as a couple of songs from a live recording of their show in Moers, Germany on May 18, 2002.
ALBUM: Shibu-Hata (Smash, 2004)
*This next song has one of the most hard core and coolest openings I've ever heard.
ALBUM: Be Cool (1995)
MP3: Angura-Zu No Ketto
From their May 18, 2002 show at the International New Jazz Festival in Moers, Germany:
MP3: unknown title
MP3: unknown title
*UPDATE: Thanks to Furious for pointing out which files weren't working. It turns out that the bad files were the ones that contained kanji, which Yousendit apparently can't handle. All is good now.