by Don Crispy
A seasoned party promoter and poet looks to reboot Tokyos
|Poet and producer Marcellus
As the crossover between live and club music continues to
blur, a number of clubs have launched regular jam sessions.
Kyoto Jazz Massive DJ/producer Shuya Okino, for example, has
the monthly Sofa at his center of operations in Shibuyas
Now, on the other side of Shibuya at superclub Wombs
OBI Lounge, a spoken word artist and longtime Tokyo house
promoter has created a new bi-monthly event that he hopes
will add fuel to the fire.
Breeding Ground, says Cleveland native Marcellus Nealy, emerged
out of Tokyos general lack of support for performing
creators. There are very few workshop-type environments, very
little opportunity for musicians to freely create, explore
and develop. Sure, the live house scene is alive enough, but
it lacks the communal element.
With Nealys previous events such as Nuphoria focusing
on the funkier side of house and the points where it crosses
over to jazz, look for Breeding Ground to continue in this
Nealy is setting the bar high. Breeding Ground aspires
to attract only the best musicians because we want the event
to become a formidable learning ground...like the old jam
sessions that used to happen back in the day when jazz was
everywhereguys like Coltrane and Miles would drop by
just to work out their technique by playing with other high-caliber
Everyone, musicians included, pays the ¥2,000 cover charge.
Since we do not have a sponsor to support us, we are
hoping to use the money as a means of keeping the event rolling,
hopefully increasing the power as we go along by: being able
to place ads in magazines, developing a powerful website that
helps to promote the artists involved, releasing recordings...
A veteran Tokyo expatriate, Nealy, who sometimes goes under
the moniker Light Walker, has been experimenting
with his intensely rhythmic rap/poetry across a spectrum of
musical settings for a number of years now. Hes performed
at the Montreal Jazz Festival, hosted a show, Melodic
Lover, on Shibuya FM, and even appeared on a recording
with J-pop unit Dreams Come True.
More recently, hes set his improvised verse to the jazz-funk
riffs of Tokyo band the Modernday Soothsayers and the electronica
of Japanese techno artists like Funky Gong. Another recent
project was this springs The World, which matches him
with German hard techno producer Johannes Weil for perhaps
the worlds first techno/poetry collaboration, while
his latest improvisational unit is Zingalamaduni, with Japanese
tribal musician Goro and percussionist Shunsuke...
Moving on, one of Tokyos legendary clubs is reborn next
weekend when Azabu-Jubans Luners, which closed almost
a year ago and was briefly reincarnated as a paintball gallery,
reopens with a new look and new management. Operated by Roppongi
club A-life, Warehouse is being overseen by experienced bookings
manager, Japanese-Brazilian Luciano Uchizono, which means
a solid lineup of house and techno talent.
Warehouse launches on Friday with veteran Tokyo/New York house
DJs Satashi Tomie and Stephane K, with techno masters Oliver
Ho and Japans Tasaka slated for Saturday and old-school
house master Kenny Dope for the following weekend, and, says
Uchizono, more surprises coming soon...
Shibuyas leading gaijin hangout, meanwhile, the Sonoma/Ruby
Room restaurant and club complex just off Dogenzaka, is celebrating
its second anniversary with two floors of fun and an all-star
DJ lineup including among others Duck Rock on Deck n
Effect, Mel Bruce (Spice), and a live performance from
Finally, leading sports video-game maker Electronic Arts is
hosting the after party for the Kanye West tour at A-life.
The party will also provide a look at EAs new game,
Def Jam Fight for NY, with DJs Ken-bo, DJ Kenkaida, DJ Sachiho
and DJ Muscle.
Breeding Ground@Womb (OBI Lounge),
December 2 and every second Thursday. Opening@Warehouse, December
3-4. Ruby Room/Sonoma 2nd Anniversary Party@Ruby Room and
Sonoma, December 3. Kanye West After Party@A-life, December
2. See club listings for details.
credit: Akito Ueno
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