In Japan

Mike Rivett ;  I’ve been living in Japan for about three months now. Man this place is a trip! When I first arrived I did some travelling with my girlfriend Megumi. Saw some more traditional areas of Japan. Went snow -boarding in the Nagano area and stayed at this really amazing (but cheap) guesthouse. In our room we had a traditional “sadou” (tea set) that had a heater under the table. It felt good after a hard day of falling down the mountain to kick back with some hot sake and toast the legs under the table!


After the mini snowboarding adventure we went to Kyoto, a really old city that has an amazing temple. This temple has a view over the whole city. At the risk of sounding like a hippy I must say I could really “feel” that place.


We eventually made it back to Tokyo and I got to do some playing with some good musicians. The drummer I am playing with at the moment (Ko Omura) is Japanese, grew up in the states and studied jazz at the Sydney Conservatorium with me. The bass player in my trio is really heavy too. He has perfect pitch and an amazing sound. He is totally vibin’ and really knows how to serve the music.

We are playing a mixture of my tunes, Ko’s tunes, standards and free improvisation. (See- at Youtube)As far as the standard of players in Tokyo goes it’s like anywhere: there are people who are bitchin’ and people who are crap. The style of improvisation (that I've seen) is more conservative than that of New York or Sydney. People like it sound nice here. I suppose there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just that it ain’t really pushing any boundaries.


The one thing that surprised me with the Tokyo jam session scene is that you have to pay to play. If you want to get up and toot off a standard then you have to cough up 2000yen (about $20) even if you can play well (It’s a mixture of amateurs and pros). This is a drag as once you have paid the train fare to get somewhere, the entry “pay to play” fee and had a drink you’ve spent all the money you just earned that day teaching English. Oh well I still do it.


I have to practice either in a karaoke booth (cough it up again mate) or get on the subway and play outside under a rail bridge somewhere. What is it with me and rail bridges. Maybe Sonny was onto a good thing.


I have some gigs coming up next week so I’ll try and get you some more giggin’ action shots. Bye - Mike Rivett


Sonny Rollins: "Plus, there was a spot on the bridge where I could not be seen by any trains, cars, or boats. I had a perfect place of privacy to play my horn. And a light bulb came on in my head, and it was just what I was looking for." AAJ: So you'd just take your sax there in the morning. S. Rollins: All day long, even at night. In those days, New York wasn't a dangerous place. So it was OK, and in the '50s, people would ignore me there, or if they saw me, they would even maybe think it was very sophisticated.

Finding an Earn In Arts Musicians talk about making a living.   Mike Rivett In New York


I just bought George Garzone's new album. It's totally killin'!! It's called "One two three four" and is available on amazon. Nudge nudge

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