Archive: May 2006

UA is the cure for jazz

I saw this announced on the Speedstar site a number of weeks ago, but now, details have emerged about UA’s new jazz standards album. Titled cure jazz, the album is a collaboration between UA and saxophone player Kikuchi Naruyoshi. The July 19 release contains 12 songs, including "Over the Rainbow" and "A Night in Tunisia".

Bounce.com reports UA and Naruyoshi each appeared on the other’s latest albums — Naruyoshi on UA’s Sun, and UA on Naruyoshi’s Degustation Jazz. The pair will then embark on a series of concert dates to promote the album, including appearances at the Fuji Rock Festival and the Rising Sun Rock Festival.

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Sting + Lachrymæ Antiquæ = WTF?

I once heard Sting perform Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, back when he had a vanity record label in the late ’80s. (Pangaea, anyone?) It was a bad idea.

I don’t know if this one is any better.

Sting performing music for lute and voice is like, I don’t know, Quruli teaming up with Rip Slyme. Oh, wait …

The worst part of it? That album may be the first Sting disc I’ve been interested in about 20 years. I still love … Nothing Like the Sun and The Dream of the Blue Turtles. But he started putting out some real duds starting with The Soul Cages.

Still distracted

In an effort to spur myself to post something here, I started a number of blank entries for reviews I want to write. I thought the reserved space for a future entry would fake me out into filling it up with text.

Nope.

First, my distraction was with the Great Music Library Rip of 2006. Now, I’m at work with Eponymous 4, my bedroom studio project. As long as I’m directing my energies there, I’m pretty much phoning in everything else.

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Don’t wake me up from this dream, or Cocco releases new album in June

Reader Kaworu tipped me to a listing on CDJapan yesterday, but now Speedstar Records confirms it — Cocco is releasing a new album on June 21.

Titled Zansaian, the new album contains 12 tracks and includes her most recent singles, "Onsoku Punch" and "Hi no Terinagara Ame no Furu". A special edition DVD includes videos for "Hi no Terinagara Ame no Furu" and "Swinging night", dance music video conceived and choreographed by Cocco herself.

It’s been quite a year for releases — Hajime Chitose, Hatakeyama Miyuki, Tokyo Jihen, Utada Hikaru and now Cocco.

Urban radio sayonara

Champion of Japanese pop and ’80s college rock catalog that Musicwhore.org is, this site is not above exploring the upper echelons of the music industry charts.

I will always have a place in my heart for Janet Jackson, no matter how her wardrobe malfunctions. But Madonna, darling, the leotard …

And while I may head for the ACO and Utada Hikaru portions of my playlist first, there’s room enough for these so-called urban artístes.

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ALERT: Bug with YesAsia PayPal feature

It’s already happened to me twice, so perhaps I should let others know …

There’s a serious bug affecting how orders are placed at YesAsia.com when you pay through PayPal. In the past, paying through PayPal took you off site from YesAsia to send payment. After a payment is sent, PayPal brought you back to YesAsia, whereupon your order was placed.

For my last two orders, I would be taken off-site to PayPal to send a payment, but when I returned to YesAsia, I was brought back where I started — at the page to place the order. In short, my payment was sent, but the order was not placed.

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Looking ahead: May 2006-July 2006

With ICE magazine ceasing publication, I’ve slowly found myself out of the loop where release news is concerned. Japanese titles require my own research, but stateside stuff, I usually get from ICE.

Someone on the ICE forums pointed out Pause & Play, and I have to say I like what I see. So I’m pillaging the information from that site to cobble together a preview of upcoming releases. Supplemented, of course, by my own self-researched picks.

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In lieu of a PE’Z review, or one entry fits all

I’ve been meaning to write about PE’Z for a long time, but I never seem to have a chance. I’d seen the band’s name pop up on various sites about a year or two before pianist Hiizami Masayuki hooked up with Shiina Ringo on Tokyo Jihen. That got the attention of stateside Japanese music fans.

But PE’Z is rather like Enya — the band’s albums are good, but they all sound the same. Unless you’re actually familiar with a particular PE’Z album, it’s not easy to tell where one begins and the other ends if you string them back to back.

It almost strikes me as pointless writing individual reviews for each album, even if I group them together in one entry.

And yet PE’Z makes an important contribution to jazz music — they make it fun again.

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