I guess the support members of Tokyo Jazz Orchestra didn't know why I was doing a lecture about scale and melody, and combo performance before the big band show. It was because the Flushing Town Hall requested us to have a bit of opening stuff only by Japanese musicians. I played my original composition, "Black Current" that is on both of my albums, "Blue Morpho" and "Predawn Shenanigans Club". The drummer on the stage, Yuichi Hirakawa, came all the way to Flushing only for the 30 minutes of opening performance with us. Also I got two musicians from Japan.
In 2010, I had a concert at Museum of the City of New York. The museum had a photo exhibition titled ‘SAMURAI IN NEW YORK: THE FIRST JAPANESE DELEGATION, 1860’ I made a quintet instantly with Yuichi Hirakawa, Toru Dodo, and very good Japanese jazz artists and I played some tunes including this Black Current, as an pre-event in celebration of Asian-Psific American Heritage Month.
The exhibition was about Samurai, and I was like ‘why don’t I name the band after bad guys of a ninja anime?’ And I actually named the quintet, Akatsuki. You don’t get it if you don’t follow the anime, Naruto.
Anyways, this tune, Black Current, has a kind of Asian sound so that it works well at such events. For the drummer, Yuichi, it was the tune he played only once five years ago, but he sounded great. Yuichi Hirakawa is playing at Arthur’s Tavern in West Village every Tuesday. Check him out!!