laughably known to jazz outsiders as the 'other' Kenny G, or more
correctly to insiders as the sax player's sax player, Kenny Garrett
resides in the penthouse of contemporary jazz saxophone artistry
(along with the likes of Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker, Branford
Marsalis), where technique, inspiration, and inventiveness are in
unmistakable and freewheeling abundance. Hailed as “the most
consistently scintillating and inspiring alto/soprano saxophone
force in the (jazz) genre,” Detroit native Garrett has, over
his 11-year career as a bandleader, won multiple Grammy nominations
since his days with the late great elder statesman Art Blakey, while
never losing his edge or curiosity, collaborating with the New Jersey
Symphony (on Adagio for Strings), and hip hop's veteran Guru (on
his Jazzmatazz project), not to mention outings with Sting and Peter
Gabriel along the way. This month, KG — along with cohorts
Chris Dave (drums), Charnett Moffett (bass) and Vernell Brown (piano)
— drop by the Osaka Blue Note for two days. Expect the scorching
quartet to serve generous helpings from 2003's hard-bopping Standard
of Language (including two tunes whose titles give nods to local
audiences to Japan: Gendai and Kurita Sensei), as well as 2002's
more funk-inspired Happy People.
Osaka Blue Note
Time:18:30/21:30 • Entry: ¥5,500-¥7,500
Janet Kay, with Aswad
of Japanese audiences, British/West Indian 'lover's rock' reggae
crooner Janet Kay returns to Kansai this month, accompanied by no
less than compatriot powerhouse reggae act Aswad. Kay continues
to ride the popularity of her early 90s Minnie Ripperton cover Loving
You, which appeared on a TV commercial here. It was around that
time (1991) that, on the strength of her growing popularity, she
landed her first ever recording deal, signing with Sony Music, Japan.
So it is no surprise that at least once a year the multitalented
performer (she also has made frequent appearances on British television,
and is part of the Black Theatre Cooperative) is welcomed to Nippon
for brief residencies at the Fukuoka, Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo Blue
Notes. Her deep repertoire of covers (So Amazing, Silly Games, Missing
You provides more than enough ammunition to satisfy those who aren't
familiar with her appearance on the soundtrack to a recent Nippon
Television production, Amai Seikatsu (Sweet Life).
Lending support, premier UK reggae band, Aswad
(whose name is the Arabic word for 'black') remains the premier
UK reggae band, and always a major draw in concert, despite never
quite crossing over to mainstream audiences. Not unlike Steel Pulse
or Black Uhuru, as much of their appeal has come from their message
as from their music. Their roots vibe is known to fuse Rastafarianism
with social issues — see their self-titled 1975 debut, and
especially the well-received follow-up, Hulet. Personnel changes
have seen the original quintet streamlined into the current core
members Angus "Drummie Zeb" Gaye (drums) and Tony "Gad"
Robinson (keyboards), but have done little to diminish their potency
or relevance, especially as live performers. This pairing is sure
to be a delight to Osaka's reggae diehards.
Osaka Blue Note
Time: 18:30/21:30 • Entry: ¥8,500-¥10,500
If you've got summertime and a live Nelly concert,
Osaka's hip hoppers (and party people in general) are pretty much
set to get, well, 'crunk.' The Midwestern (raised in St. Louis,
Missouri) former Band-Aid-wearing rap phenomenon with the sing-songy
delivery and, apparently, the Midas touch for club bangers (Hot
in Herre, Na-Nana-Na,), has risen when many predicted him and his
unabashedly crossover party-rap style to flop, or at the very least
to be rendered to the one-hit-wonder circular file.
Well, the joke's on the haters, because Mr. Cornell
Haynes Jr. and his childhood running partners the St. Lunatics have
steadily taken things over, a streak that began when 2002's Nellyville
(his sophomore release) led to the star holding the number 1 spot
on 10 different Billboard charts in its first week of release. Then
came Iz U on the Bad Boys II soundtrack. And, most recently the
separately released double album Sweat/Suit, on which slow jams
like My Place and club jams Flap Your Wings continue to tag-team
naysayers into willing submission. Osaka-Jo Hall hosts the Sweat
Suit tour's Kansai pit stop this month.
Osaka Jo Hall
Time: 18:30/21:30 • Entry: ¥5,500-¥7,500.
Hard-to categorize UK-based outfit The Pogues
(originally Pogue Mahone — “Kiss My Ass” in Gaelic)
are known as the band that added a tradition of working-class Irish
folk music to the celebratory rage of punk, reaching back to the
last century and beyond. Originally the trio of Shane MacGowan (vocals/guitar),
Spider Stacy (tin whistle) and Jim Fearnley (accordion) , they began
playing traditional Irish tunes in London pubs and streets, eventually
adding Jem Finer (banjo, guitar), Andrew David Ranken (drums) and
Cait O'Riordan (bass) to make it a full band.
Developing into a sextet, they added MacGowan's
original songs to their repertoire, and began earning a reputation
as a wild, drunken and exciting live act. For fans, their most fertile
recording and songwriting period undoubtedly included Rum, Sodomy
and the Lash (1985, and in 2005 remastered and re-released), and
If I should Fall From Grace With God (1988), resounding testaments
to the writing talent of MacGowan and Finer.
Although the stereotypical rock-and-roll excesses
eventually led to the band's 1996 disbandment, 2005 finds the rumors
of their demise slightly exaggerated, as they make a stop at Osaka's
Mother Hall this month, en route to the annual Fuji Rock Festival,
and as part of their three-date visit to Japan. At the time of writing,
the scoop is this is the classic 1987-1993 line-up of Shane MacGowan,
Spider Stacy, Jem Finer, Philip Chevron, Terry Woods, Andrew Ranken,
James Fearnley and Darryl Hunt which last toured the UK in 2001.
Fans will be delighted to know that the band will be joined on vocals
by Cait O'Riordan. Cait was The Pogues' original bass player from
1982-1986 and sang A Man You Don't Meet Everyday on the Rum, Sodomy
and the Lash album.
Time: 19:00 • Entry: ¥6,500
Live Listings July
The Elephant Kashimashi @ Big Cat. 19:00. ¥4,200. Tel: 06-6233-8888.
Bluestone @ Osaka Muse Hall. 19:00 ¥3,000 (adv.) 06-6245-5389.
7/1 & 2
Fried Pride @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30 /21:30. ¥4,500-¥7,000
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz
Yuki @ Kobe Chicken George. 18:00 ¥5,500. Tel: 0570-02-9999.
7/4 & 5
Ron Carter Quartet @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30/21:30. ¥6,400-¥8,400.
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz
7/6 & 7
Kenny Garrett @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30/21:30. ¥5,500-¥7,500.
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz saxophone
Orquesta De La Luz @ Club Quattro. 19:00. ¥3,500. Tel: 06-6341-4506.
7/7 & 29
Sadao Watanabe @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30/21:30. ¥7,500-¥9,500.
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz
Central @ Club Quattro. 19:00 ¥3500. Tel: 06-6341-4506.
7/8 & 9
Janet Kay w Aswad @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30/21:30. ¥8,500-¥10,500
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Reggae
Shonen Knife 712 Day Party Tour @ Club Quattro. 19:00. ¥3,500
Tel: 06-6362-7301. Pop/Rock/Punk
Satoshi Inoue Japanese Jazz Ensemble @ Live Spot Rag. 18:30.
¥4,000. Tel: 075-255-7273. Jazz
The Supremes & The Temptations
@ Kobe Bunka Hall. 18:30. ¥5,000/ ¥5,500. Tel: 078-303-3131.
Copeland @ Club Quattro. 19:00 ¥3,800. Tel: 06-6362-7301.
Oceanlane @ Club Quattro. 19:00 ¥3,800. Tel: 06-6362-7301.
The Supremes and The Temptations @ Kobe Bunka Hall Dai Hall.
18:30. ¥5,000/¥5,500. Tel: 078-303-3131 Classic Soul/Pop
7/13, 14, 19, & 20
Nakashima Mika @ Festival Hall. 18:30. ¥6,500. Tel: 06-6233-8888.
Nelly @ Osaka Jo Hall. 18:30/21:30 ¥5,500-¥7,500.
Tel: 06-6342-7722. A Capella
Anthem @ Big Cat. 18:00. ¥6,500 Tel: 0570-02-9999. Metal
Black Veil @ Bayside Jenny. 21:00. ¥4,500. Tel: 06-6576-5640.
The Miceteeth @ Namba Hatch. 19:00 ¥6,300. Tel: 06-6344-3326.
Chie Ayado @ Festival Hall. 17:00 (15:00 on 18th). ¥7,000.
Tel: 06-6233-8888. Jazz
Bonobos @ Club Quattro. 19:00. ¥3,300. Tel: 06-6362-7301.
Pat Martino Quartet (tribute to Wes Montgomery) @ Osaka Blue
Note. 18:30/21:30. ¥6,000/¥8,000 Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz
Dorlis @ Club Quattro. 19:30 ¥3,000. Tel: 06-6362-7301.
7/22 & 23
Clementine with Carlos Lyra @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30/21:30.
¥6,400-¥8,400. Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz/Pop
7/23 & 24
Setstock '05 @ Hiroshima Bihoku Kyuryu Koen. 13:30. ¥7,000.
¥12,000 for 2 days. Tel: 0570-02-9999. Rock festival
7/25 & 26
The Platters @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:30/21:30. ¥6,400-¥8,400.
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Classic Soul/Pop
The Pogues (Fuji Rock pre-party)
@ Mother Hall. 19:00. ¥6,500 Tel: 06-6535-5569. Rock
Fuji Rock Festival @ Naeba Ski-jo, Niigata. All day. ¥16,000-¥38,000
Tel: 0180-993-998. Rock/Various
Cornell Dupree, Chuck Rainey, Le McCann, Ronnie Cuber, Buddy
Williams @ Osaka Blue Note. 18:00/21:00. ¥6,400-¥8,400
Tel: 06-6342-7722. Jazz
Accept @ Namba Hatch. 18:00. ¥7,500. Tel: 06-6233-8888.
Billy Corgan @ Namba Hatch. 19:00 ¥6,300. Tel: 0570-02-9999.
Zeppet Store @ Big Cat. 19:00. ¥4,000 (adv.) Tel: 06-6258-5008.