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Tokyo Jazz

Fodor’s Tokyo, 6th edition

JAZZ WAS BANNED in Japan during the Second World War, seen as an American vice, but when U.S. armed forces settled in once the conflict ended, the musical style really took hold. More than 120 live-jazz bars and clubs now make the Tokyo jazz scene “one of the world’s best,” says the 6th edition of Fodor’s Tokyo, “far surpassing that of Paris and New York with its number of venues playing traditional, swing, bossa nova, rhythm and blues, and free jazz.”

“Shinjuku, Takadanobaba, and Kichijoji are the city’s jazz enclaves,” says the guidebook, which also points out that, “if you time your visit right, you can listen to great jazz at one of the city’s more than 20 annual festivals dedicated to this adopted musical form.” Two it names are the Tokyo Jazz Festival (www.tokyo-jazz.com) and the Asagaya Jazz Street Festival (www.asagayajazzst.com). Among the jazz clubs it recommends are:

Blue Note Tokyo (www.bluenote.co.jp), Raika Bldg., 6-3-16 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Aoyama. “Prices are high, sets short. and patrons packed in tight…but if you want to catch Pat Metheny and Natalie Cole in a relatively small venue, this is the place.”

Hot House (no website, 03/3367-1233), B1 Liberal Takadanobaba, 3-23-5 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku. “This could very well be the world’s smallest jazz club. An evening here is like listening to live jazz in your living room. Live acts are trios at most…Simple, homemade Japanese cooking (free of charge) helps make this a truly intimate experience…With 10 seats and no standing allowed, reservations are recommended.”

 

www.fodors.com

 

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