live

dj honda and Terumasa Hino Mini Live at T-site in Daikanyama

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Terumasa Hino and Dj Honda , H-Factor

 

I was in good graces to be invited out to catch the two most legendary “H” performers in Japan.  The jazz trailblazer Terumasa Hino, and the world renown hip hop dj honda.

Dj Honda has been putting out beats and working with an international cadre of performers since the early 90s.  Terumasa’s has been blowing the horn since the 60s.  In the wake of the 311 triple disaster the two teamed up along with Hino’s son Jino on bass to form h-factor.

The sound is where urban cuts meet the smooth and free flowing blasts of Hino’s trumpet.  They are on a tour to promote the new album Unity which can be downloaded from itunes.

The house was packed in the trendy upscale music and bookstore T-site.  The audience all had numbers and they packed the little space even though it was pouring outside.  It was dj honda on turntables and beats, Terumasa on trumpet (he also rocked some maracas, drums and cowbell.)

I was fulljoyed that Hino pulled out a shell horn to blow on for my favorite Okinawian flavored track Funakura.  They only played a short 40 minute set of three songs the other two were also off the album including the title track Unity and Never Forget 311, commemorating the triple disasters of March 11, 2011.

After the show I asked dj honda what was up next for him.  He told me that for him it is everyday in the studio making beats and a tour in Japan.  Later in the year he will make a trip to the US.

It was a great night out with great music, and good peeps!

Big time shout outs to dj honda, Hino, Jino, Gemba, and Mance

 

Dj Honda with Turntables and Mixer, H-Factor

 

 

Dj Honda's Custom Vinyl Pads, H-factor

 

 

 

 

Terumasa Hino with Shell Horn, H-Factor

 

 

Terumasa Hino's Custom Trumpet Mouthpiece, H-factor

Time Escapes as the Cherry Blossoms Desiccate

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Desiccating Cherry Blossom (Wrapped Around) 02

 

Eating my breakfast at 7 (6 pm the previous day on the east coast) in the morning in Tokyo I saw Boston’s horror.  Violence has never sits well with me.  I am an emotional empathetic being much in the way of “He Who Feels It, Knows It.”  I’ll admit to being moved to tears when faced with some of the horrors of the world.

My heart is heavy when I witness hate inspired destruction.  It is immaterial whether that hate is against governments, people, or religions.  Hate is hate.

I recall a memory soon after NYC’s 911 when a dear Japanese friend asked me if I feel more when my people, Americans, are victims of hate.  I answered, “no.”  I feel pain whenever I encounter death, destruction and hatred.  I am not sure if it was a conscious decision on my part or if it is my soul speaking to my heart.

There may have been a time in my life when I would have been more moved by the deaths of my countrymen, but that no longer holds true.  How can we as people that inhabit planet earth learn to respect each other, when we constantly label what we don’t understand as other.

Our physical vessels are on this plane of reality for a blink of time.  Why do we choose hate?  Why do he make the choice to disregard other sentinel beings as other, only good to be thrown out with the trash.

We need to be thankful for the life we have been given.  When darkness enters into our lives we need to shine the light higher and brighter.  We need to lend a hand to our brother and sisters regardless of who they may be.

The only way we can conquer hate, is by employing love.  Love yourself first, then learn to love others.  Seek the beauty and the light the creator has given us.  Use our hearts to extinguish the ignorant fears that drive souls to hate.

Our time we are granted by the Most High is precious, let us not waste it with hatred, but we should fill life with love.  The cherry blossoms have come.  Their beauty delighted us that spring has arrived,  now they lie drying, becoming one with the earth from where they came.

Let these two events remind us of the beauty out there.  The love for nature, and the love shown towards complete strangers as people rushed in to help those in need.  We are our brothers keepers, we must be there to support those worst off at all times.

Love over hate.
Desiccating Cherry Blossom 01

Just What the Doctor Ordered for the Blues, Medicine Bone

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Just a Drum Kit, a Guitar and Two Vocals, Medicine Bone

There is nothing quite like vibing along to the blues to lift up your spirits.  My friend Samm Bennett from Polarity Records and Ken Shima reunited for a mini tour of Medicine Bone.  I had to travel clear across Tokyo to be able to catch Medicine Bone live in Ogikubo, Tokyo at the Velvet Sun.  I live on the Tozai Train Line which means east west line, and I traveled from as far east and still be in Tokyo to the West.

I caught up with Samm and Ken before their set and asked them to describe their music style.  Ken replied that they are heavily influenced North Mississippi Hill Country Blues, as opposed to the Delta Blues.  Not the blues that Muddy took and electrified in Chicago, but those blues that stayed behind in the hills of Northern Mississippi.  He went on to say that there is a lot fewer changes in the blues pattern than the down south delta styles.

Samm proudly showed me his custom travel drum kit.  I am always impressed with the compactness of his drum kit, which Samm said he is basically limited by what he can carry on the subways and trains.  He switched the direction of his bass drum to be perpendicular rather than flush to the stage.  He also customized his petal so that he uses his heal rather than his ball to keep the bass drum thumping.

Both Ken and Samm shared vocals.  Basically, whoever was singing wrote the song.  The alternated belting out the songs with titles like, Tennessee, Liquor Store, and Little Man.  Simple songs that were packed full of emotion that lifted me up out of the dust, and made me stomp my heals.

It amazed me that Ken had built a custom microphone out of an old Japanese analog telephone speaker.  It gave a perfect sound to accompany the blues rifts and beats.

The blues is simple music with complex emotions.  The blues allows the burdens that weight you down to be lightened somewhat.  I definitely felt a whole lot better after a beer and vibing out to the blues.

Medicine Bone has two more shows in Tokyo, Tonight and Saturday.  Check them if you can.  You’ll thank the doctor later!.

Friday Night September 7, at Juke Joint, NishiAzabu, Tokyo
open 19:00 – start 20:30
2000 yen entry plus 1 drink (500 yen) 

Three, count ’em THREE sets from Medicine Bone
at Tokyo’s newest spot for blues and blues-esque sounds!
Light food available as well as full bar, of course.
Sets at 8:30 – 9:15 and 10:00. Come for one or all!

Juke Joint website
Google map to Juke Joint

Saturday Night at Bright Brown, Nakano, Tokyo
open: 19:30 – start: 20:00

Medicine Bone loves the friendly, casual and lived-in atmosphere at Bright Brown. It’s Nakano’s premier blues spot, and MB is delighted 
to be coming back to perform there! We’ll be doing two (or maybe 3?) sets for our last Tokyo appearance!

Bright Brown website

Thanks again to Samm and Ken for having me out, I was enlightened by their soulful music.

Samm Bennett Drums, Ken Shima Guitar, Medicine Bone

 

Set List, Tennessee, Little Man, Liquor Store, Medicine Bone

 

Ken Shima Guitar and Vocals, Medicine Bone

 

Ken Shima, Medicine Bone

 

Samm Bennett Drums and Vocals, Medicine Bone

Medicine Bone Performing “Tennessee” live at Velvet Sun

 

Keep up with Samm Bennett at Polarity Records and Facebook

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