Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kagoshima Jazz Street


(12 noon on Saturday.  MC is announcing the acts and trying to warm up the crowd.)

Over the weekend of Sept. 1st and 2nd, Kagoshima City hosted Jazz Street, a free jazz festival with stages spread out over 8 locations, including around Kagoshima-chuo station, Central Park and the Tenmonkan shopping district.  I had to work on Saturday, but I was able to catch a bit of music on the way home that evening.


(The crowd is at the opposite side of the park trying to keep cool. First act doesn't start for another hour.)

Sunday was a little better and I sampled some of the acts at Central Park and Maruya Gardens.  Some of the stages were open until 9 PM on Sat., and 6 PM on Sun.  The last three acts at Maruya Gardens were all amateur performers, so I just stuck around long enough to get a feel for their playing style.


(Setting up the stage for Fried Pride.)

Later, I returned to Central Park and watched the entire set for Kaja, and the first half of Fried Pride.  Kaja was good, doing an acoustic reggae set with a guitar accompaniment. He closed with "Iru ka? Doko ni Iru Ka?" (Are you here? Where are you?) I can't find the lyrics online, but it was a fun little piece about the singer visiting different cities around the world and getting into strange conversations. Naturally, we were told "no cameras" during the performances, so I didn't get a picture of Kaja on stage.


(Food tents in the background.)

Unfortunately, there were only 20-30 people in the audience at that point.  This was followed by a 15-minute break during which the roadies prepped the stage for the last group.  When the music was about ready, the audience had swelled up to 150-200 people.  Fried Pride is a duet, with a female vocalist and "the leader" on guitar.  Half way through they brought up a second guitarist and a drummer.  Songs included jazzed up versions of Sweet Georgia Brown and the Beatles' Come Together.  "Leader" was good, but the vocalist seemed a little too intent on showing off her vocal range without really having a sense of the song itself.


(Stage set-up.)

Funding of the weekend fest was through food concessions and sales of 2000 yen ($24 USD) t-shirts.  The shirt design is fairly boring, so I passed on getting one.  Overall, Jazz Street was an easy way to spend a couple hours outside, but I think Kaja was the only musician that I liked at all.


(Fried Pride. Although cameras weren't permitted in the audience, I was on my way out of the park and technically wasn't in the audience anymore.  However, I was also shooting from a block away as the sun was going down, into a lighted stage, so the pictures didn't come out all that great.)








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