Saturday, February 09, 2008

Jazz in Tokyo

I don't get out to hear live music often enough, but I'm excited by the discovery of Tokyo Jazz Site nonetheless. It was profiled in the Japan Times the other day.

I have only a small fraction of the experience of James Catchpole, but I'll put in a plug for the Blue Note anyway. I happen to think that the food is pretty good; dinner of that quality will cost you 4-7,000 yen anywhere in Tokyo, about what it costs you at the Blue Note. Yes, the shows are expensive and the sets short; but the names are top drawer, and hearing oh, say, the late Oscar Peterson cost us $75 a head in New York ten years ago, and he was sold at $100 a head at Yoshi's Oakland a few years ago, so the difference in price doesn't seem as outrageous to me as it otherwise might. Yes, hearing live jazz is expensive, but even at that, the artists and clubs are mostly making a modest living.

Besides, even going out to the second-tier clubs is Tokyo ain't cheap most of the time. Cover charge for people you've never heard of can be 3-4,000 yen at an obscure club, where a mediocre dinner and overpriced drinks still run the tab to 6-8,000 yen a head. Yes, that's a big difference from the 10-12,000 yen you'll spend at the Blue Note, but the jazz and food will be a lot better. Catchpole gets out much more often than I do, and can afford to trade time for money looking for the exciting, obscure players in the good-for-the-money clubs, but I don't want to waste one of my few trips to a club a year on something disappointing.

Of course, now that I know about his web site, I should be able to improve my hit rate and economize at the same time. Looking forward to reading up on it!

Speaking of such things, a little hole in the wall here in Kamakura named Tipitina has bossa nova tonight. Hmm. I'm at home for the evening with my girls, though.


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