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Jazz Guitarist Yugo Sato's Strolling Jazz Bar!

Date Posted: 2012-01-05

Editor’s Note: A professional jazz guitarist, Yugo Sato, joins the pages of Japan Update this week, introducing Okinawan Jazz clubs, live houses and owners to our audience. Yugo Sato became enamored with the guitar when a kid, and listened to all kind of music, particularly liking the Rock and Fusion genre. When only 18 , he began studying under mainland Japanese professional guitarist Yoshihiko Hosono, while working backup musician and singer, while playing jazz clubs.

By Yugo Sato

As I was growing up, I played an opening act with Kenny Burrer at the Playboy Jazz Festival, and released my first CD as a major musician, produced by Yasuhiro Konishi, in 1992. A short time later, my second CD began gaining attention, and finally I produced a three-day Jazz Festival at Yokohama Bayside Marina,“Jazz Festival 2010” and that was successful! Since 2010, I have been playing with my band “The Bayskays” at Tokyo and Yokohama venues, before moving to Okinawa last April, and playing with various musicians at different places. I’ve been finding some great jazz clubs, live houses, and great owners! Now I’ve the chance to introduce my experiences in Okinawa with you at Japan Update. When you see me playing somewhere, please call me anytime!

I will introduce “Bird Land” live house in Nago city this week. The owner of Bird Land, Asao Kise, is running Asahi Entertainment company. He is the one person that I met when I migrated to Okinawa. At that time I did not have any relationships here in Okinawa, and my wife had sent a lot of mail to lots of musicians, jazz club and live houses. Then Kise kindly replied me, and I went to Bird Land for a meeting.
This is the story of beginning my Okinawa music life. I gave my original CD and demonstration CD to him that day, and some days later he called me and gave a chance to play at Bird Land. I was surprised because the act was for playing guitarist for Hiroshi Murata, a pro Jazz Trumpeter from Tokyo. That was an amazing chance for me!

Kise is a professional musician in Okinawa, playing as a drummer with Okinawan famous musicians Kensei, Kacchan, and Ko-chan with Kamikaze in the 70’s. After he went back to Nago, he began supporting his father’s business, while on the other hand starting a support business as a sound engineer. In 2003, he finally combined his father’s business and sound engineer business, and became the president of Asahi Entertainment Company.
He says that “first of all, some members who like jazz music gathered and created the live house, I was one of the members offering just support at that time, but finally I have taken over the live house.
“Now,” he says, “I offer the place for musicians of not only jazz but also various other genres, but it should be nice”. He adds that “I’m hoping this live house will be the place for young musicians to improve their skills with good equipment. But it’s not only for youngsters but also for them the place to play music with professional musicians”.

Owner Kise says “I don’t admit just anybody to play here but just bands or musicians who are good”.
Bird Land opens irregularly, but you will surely listen to great music when the place is open. I perform there sometimes, and it feels so good to play on stage with great equipment. There is a grand piano, and probably a big band could fit on the stage as it’s so large.

The seats for customers are on the 1st floor and 2nd floor, with the 2nd floor being a type of loft, so you can see and listen to performances while being comfortable. There is a big screen monitor beside the stage, and customers can watch the stage even from the end of the corner counter. The capacity is 50~80 people for seating, and 150 people standing.

There’s more to the Mr. Kise’s story. He operates a recording studio “Lineup Studio” next to the live house, and there is awesome equipment too! You could check at online! www.lineupstudio.jp/birdland.htm. Be adventurous and try your hand at making music. See you real soon.

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