Jazz has played an important role as one of the cultural history of Yokohama.
In the Noge-Isezakicho-Kannai area, there are currently nearly 40 spots where you can enjoy live jazz performances. It's rare in the world to have so many jazz-related shops in such a small area, and some overseas musicians are surprised that "the only place I know about is New York, and there are more than New York."
Noge Hondori at night, circa 1953 (Source: Yokohama photo album for the 150th anniversary of the opening of Yokohama port )
The first jazz record was recorded in America in 1917. The first jazz performance was held in Yokohama in 1925 (Taisho 14). Japan's oldest jazz café, Chigusa, opened in Noge in 1933. In the 1940s and 1950s, modern jazz giants such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane began to flourish in the United States, so Yokohama had a jazz base even before Miles. . You can see how the Yokohama jazz scene took advantage of the geographical advantage of being a port town to incorporate new foreign cultures from a time when the communication infrastructure was not as developed as it is today.
" Yokohama JAZZ PROMENADE " held every October will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017 as a community development festival that also serves as a regional development. If you buy a ticket, you can listen to jazz performances held simultaneously in more than 50 places such as concert halls, jazz clubs, and street corners all day long. It is said that these two days are the highest operating rate of the rental bicycle “baybike” in the Minatomirai area. There are many jazz fans who rent bicycles and run around the city. According to executive committee chairman Hiroshi Tsuruoka, over the past 25 years, the number of jazz clubs, which originally numbered only four, has increased to the current number.
“ Yokohama JAZZ PROMENADE ” has partnered with the Detroit Jazz Festival, which has a history of 39 years, since last 2016 and started mutual exchange before the 25th anniversary. A jazz competition was held to discover young musicians, and the winning saxophone trio of Akihiro Nishiguchi will perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival in September this year. Also, in October, a young artist who won the Detroit competition will come to Japan and perform at the Yokohama JAZZ PROMENADE. As a port town of Yokohama, further internationalization is expected to progress in the future.
JP16 1009 Red Brick Warehouse No. 1 Chris Collins (sax) and the Detroit All-stars (c) YJP (photographed by crew)
The "Asahi Jazz Festival" held in Asahi Ward is also known as one of the leading jazz festivals in the Yokohama area, which has been running for 28 years. There is also a "Valentine concert" in winter, and it is the same as "Yokohama JAZZ PROMENADE" that continues activities rooted in the community. In addition, there are many events that attract customers with their own projects such as "Jazz de Bon Odori" in the Noge area.
Of course, there are many Yokohama local jazz musicians in Yokohama. Throughout the year, jazz musicians from all over Japan visit clubs in Yokohama to perform. There are many styles of jazz, but if you are in Yokohama, you can hear any kind of jazz.
Contemporary jazz is diversifying, and new styles created by the mutual influence of hip-hop and pop black music, led by Robert Glasper, are also popular, but Yokohama musicians inherit traditional jazz styles in a more authentic way. a lot of people. If you look at America, New York, the center of jazz, mixes traditional styles with the latest styles that are constantly being created. In Detroit, which is a provincial city, the traditional style is as strong as in Yokohama. Montreal, Canada, which is close to the United States, also has a large-scale city festival "Montreal Jazz Festival", but it is conservative. Considering this, it seems likely that, with the exception of cutting-edge New York, jazz festivals in local cities will be popular for their traditional style, just like the general image of "jazz."