Memory Lane to Sendai
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Memory Lane to Sendai
Kato, did you enjoy the reminiscent songs of Engelbert Humperdinck?
Oh yes, I did indeed. Those songs remind me of Sendai—my second hometown.
Where is Sendai?
I know…but what part of Japan?
I’ll show you the place in the following map:
Oh my Goodness!…your second home town is so near the nuclear disaster in Fukushima…It must have been contaminated by the radiation of the nuclear plant.
Yes…some people in the city are quite worried about the contamination.
I wonder if some of your relatives still live over there.
Fortunately, none of my relatives live in Sendai. All my family and relatives live near Tokyo, but some of them believe that the contamination has spread over Tokyo by now.
In fact, the people who live in and around Tokyo are quite agitated by the news of the contamination.
I could understand that. But tell me, Kato, how come the songs of Engelbert Humperdinck remind you of Sendai.
‘Cause I enjoyed the most of those songs in Sendai when I was a college student over there. Besides, I enjoyed the Jazz Festival in Sendai while I stayed in Japan.
The 21st Jazz Festival
(September 10 & 11, 2011)
Is this jazz festival famous?
You bet on that, Diane. More than 700 bands took part in the festival, including more than 5、000 amateur and professional musicians. A hundred open-air stages were set up all over the city. More than 750,000 music fans attended the two-day festival. These days, even famous musicians from New York and Paris take part in the festival.
Well…one of them is Makoto Ozone.
He lives in Japan, doesn’t he?
Yes, but his activies are centered around New York.
I see…and what did he do in the festival?
He formed an impromptu jazz band from participants, arranged “Sukiyaki” into Jazz, and played it.
Is the pianist Ozone?
Oh no, the pianist in the clip is NOT Ozone ‘cause I couldn’t get the clip of the actual performance. But the sukiyaki song was genuinely arranged into jazz. The audience loved the performance, so Ozone and the band played “Take The ‘A’ Train” for encore.
Duke Ellington playd it, didn’t he?
Yes, he did. It’s his theme music.
Did he also take part in the festival?
No, of course not. Duke Ellington died in 1974. He’s been long dead since.
Kato, are you an Ozone fan?
No, I’m not an enthusiastic fan. I didn’t even know his name.
What makes you get interested in him?
‘Cause I learned that at twelve Ozone switched to piano after being impressed by albums by Oscar Peterson. I’m an Oscar Peterson fan. Actually, while I lived in Toronto, I enjoyed his live performances at CNE (Canadian National Exhibition).
I like him, too.
I thought you didn’t like jazz.
What makes you think so?
‘Cause the other day you gave me a Miles Davis CD, and said, “I’m not much of a jazz fan.”
Oh,… did I say that? but I like Oscar’s piano very much.
Do you? Then you should listen to this:
Oh, my Goodness … Superb! Amazing! Now, I love his piano even more than before.
I knew … I expeted you would say that … He, he, he, he, he, …
If you’ve got some time,
Please read one of the following artciles:
Hi, I’m June Adames.
Oscar Peterson was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer.
He was called the “Maharaja of the keyboard” by Duke Ellington.
He released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career.
He is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, having played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years.
He was born in 1925 to immigrants from the West Indies.
His father worked as a porter for Canadian Pacific Railway.
Peterson grew up in the neighbourhood of Little Burgundy in Montreal, Quebec.
It was in this predominantly black neighbourhood that he found himself surrounded by the jazz culture that flourished in the early 20th century.
At the age of five, Peterson began honing his skills with the trumpet and piano.
However, a bout of tuberculosis at age seven prevented him from playing the trumpet again, and so he directed all his attention to the piano.
As a child, Peterson also studied with Hungarian-born pianist Paul de Marky, a student of István Thomán, who was himself a pupil of Franz Liszt, so his training was predominantly based on classical piano.
Meanwhile he was captivated by traditional jazz and learned several ragtime pieces and especially the boogie-woogie.
At age nine Peterson played piano with control that impressed professional musicians.
For many years his piano studies included four to six hours of practice daily.
Only in his later years did he decrease his daily practice to just one or two hours.
In 1940, at age fourteen, Peterson won the national music competition organized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
After that victory, he dropped out of school and became a professional pianist working for a weekly radio show, and playing at hotels and music halls.
Peterson lived in a two-storey house on Hammond Road in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, until his death in 2007 of kidney failure.