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“Toshimi Watanabe’s INTER PLAY” interview

「渡辺俊美のINTER PLAY」インタビュー
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“Jazz in your daily life” by Toshimi Watanabe

−I heard that “Toshimi Watanabe's INTER PLAY” originally started as a DJ-style event.

I agree. But actually, it's not the first one, it's a compilation CD called ``INTER PLAY''. Back in 2000, I played songs by popular Japanese jazz bands such as PE'Z and SOIL & PIMP SESSIONS, who were still young at the time. It all started when I selected, supervised, and presented songs. The process is to develop that into a public DJ event.

For the event, we rent spaces in various places and play various songs while talking, and at the end I sing and sing. Since 2005, I've been able to share music with many people in many places, and I've had the best experience. After that, I started radio in October 2016 and have been doing it until now...I want to convey the charm of jazz to as many people as possible, whether it's the production of ``INTER PLAY,'' events, or radio. That's the basic idea.

You know, jazz generally has an image of being ``fashionable'' or ``high hurdles,'' right? Especially when it comes to hurdles, there is an impression that if you don't know the theory, you won't be able to enjoy it. But that's not the case. I think it's more casual and intuitive, and it's also aggressive music, healing music, and music that connects people. I want people to experience that kind of richness and depth. Therefore, based on the concept of ``Jazz in your daily life'', the program introduces a variety of songs from a different perspective than the stereotypical image.

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-Are there any reactions from listeners who haven't had much exposure to jazz?

I've heard many happy comments like ``It's cool'' and ``I found something I like.'' Also, “You’re so kind” (lol)

That being said, especially for the younger generation, there are still many songs that they don't know. That's why we try to post information on SNS so that listeners can look up the band name and song title whenever they hear a song that makes them think, "Oh, that's great." I also value the fact that it is "accepted as a new record." However, when I say it's a new record, I don't mean that it's newly released; I mean, ``If you haven't heard it, it's new.'' In other words, I want listeners to be able to experience jazz without having fixed ideas as much as possible, whether it's about the history of jazz or this technique.

I mean, isn't it amazing? It's been going on for more than half a century, and songs from decades ago are still being covered by modern musicians as a matter of course. As a listener, that's what makes it so appealing, and it's rare to find music that you feel more attached to and more inspired by over time. That's why I want to be a bridge between listeners and jazz.

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What I learned from the tones of jazz artists: “My true self”

−Are there any artists who have influenced your lifestyle?

First of all, my encounter with jazz has been going on for a long time. One of TOKYO No.1 SOUL SET's approaches is hip-hop, but if you trace the origins of hip-hop that inspired you, you'll find jazz. So I listened to it on a daily basis and visited record stores often.

If I had to choose among them, I would say ``Wes Montgomery'' and ``Chet Baker.''

I once fell ill while recording. TOKYO No.1 SOUL SET's sound production has always been about trying new things...but maybe that actually worked as a pressure. At times when I wasn't feeling well or feeling well, their music gave me great courage. Furthermore, at that time, I felt that I was able to affirm myself as I am. So, going back to what I said earlier, I really feel that ``Jazz should be part of your daily life,'' and I want to convey the wonders of it more and more.

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Not just for music fans, but for everyone with a “heart”

-I heard that the program also provides information about the city.

It focuses on interesting and lively local information, from creativity to clothing, food, and housing.

I've always had a fascination with local towns, as evidenced by my experience of visiting various parts of the country for live performances and recovery support activities following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Once upon a time, when I moved to Tokyo from my hometown of Fukushima, Tokyo was the only place for people from rural areas to pursue their dreams. I was also nervous, thinking, ``I'm definitely going to lose.'' But now I'm starting to think that it doesn't necessarily have to be a big city. This is an age where information can be obtained and disseminated from anywhere, and I believe that if you act with your heart in mind, you can establish a new culture regardless of your location.

In fact, there is a soil in the region that accepts this. Speaking of jazz, Basie is a long-established jazz cafe located in Ichinoseki City, Iwate Prefecture. Although it is not a place that people from all over the world can easily go to, it attracts fans from all over the country and continues to be loved by jazz artists from all over the world. Of course, it's probably the result of being persistent, but this kind of culture actually exists in many places, not just in music. So, I would like to disseminate that kind of information and make it a program that can be an inspiration to all who have a heart.

Also, when you think about regional areas, Kanagawa Prefecture is a really attractive place. Having lived in Yokohama and Fujisawa, this is my experience. Each city has a sense of pride, which is rare. In the first place, I believe that culture is something that is born out of an environment that supports the desire to take action.

-Lastly, I heard that you are planning a live performance at a cafe in Chigasaki.

yes. It's an event called "FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE" sponsored by "MOKICHI WURST CAFÉ" in Chigasaki, and this cafe is really good. This cafe is attached to Shonan's only existing brewery, Kumazawa Sake Brewery, and has a nice atmosphere of an old folk house, as well as a good selection of alcohol and food. This store has many fans.

Fans of MOKICHI WURST CAFÉ, fans of our artists, and a variety of other people come together to create new interactions over music, alcohol, and food. I think it will be a live performance like that.

I believe that any great culture starts with a small number of people. There is a similar feeling of anticipation in the upcoming live performance.

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"MOKICHI WURST CAFÉ FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE"
Date and time: November 17th (Friday) OPEN: 18:00 ・ START: 19:30
Cast: Toshimi Watanabe, Midori no Maru, UJ (Yuji Tanaka)
Price: 5,000 yen (includes live performance, special dinner plate, and 1 drink)
Location: 7-10-7 Kagawa, Chigasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Inquiries: 0467-50-0202

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