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The Strolling Jazz Bar: Cotonoha's art and jazz are intertwined

By: By Yugo Sato

Date Posted: 2012-01-19

I went to Sauce Live steak house in Chatan with my wife because I thought there was live music every night, but the owner said they didn’t have any, and then introduced me to Daryl Mitchell, the owner of Cotonoha.

A day after a big typhoon passed from Okinawa, I called and asked to visit the Cotonoha, and he answered “Of course you can come, welcome!” We talked about the rhythm of music, and that was an exciting time. He used to play as a musician and now is a producer for some musicians, making for some busy days now.

Mitchell invited me to visit the Jazz Festival at Nanjo City, a Jazz event he produces, and invited me to his café, so we are good mates now! At Cotonoha artspace+café show you not only have music, but also art displays, a one-man show or the place for discussion about various themes. The café seats about 50 people with room to relax on fashionable furniture, and Mitchell’s concerned with his own dishes, so you can take tasty cuisine, and even alcoholic drinks are suited to that space.

Cotonoha does not offer Jazz live every day, but a couple of times per month. Playing Cotonoha are not only the musicians of Okinawa, but also famous musicians from mainland Japan or even foreign countries too. They are also trying to have a unique planning, like fusion of music and art, and I will play there at the end of this month! If interested to visit the cotonoha café, I recommend to call about the schedule before you visit at (098) 893-7299, or check out the website http://www.cotonoha.com/

Mitch, who turns 40 in June, is originally from Baltimore, Maryland, venturing to Okinawa in 1991 while in the military. He remained after completing his military assignment, working in construction, and as a painter, publisher, importer, musician, teacher and salesman before opening Cotonoha in 2008. Mitchell’s favorite interest is beating the djembe drum when he’s not working with ArtPoint, his NPO company.

He’s a self taught keyboardist who has played everything from Jazz-Funk to World Music. His eclectic taste, fondness of the freer harmonic elements of Jazz, and interest in African rhythms gives his sound it's unique qualities. Current projects include leading the World Jazz group, Gold Griot. In addition to his work as a musician, he works as an events producer, and uses Cotonoha as a venue for performing and visual artists from around Asia.

Mitchell is always looking for artists, writers, painters, photographers, intellectuals, activists, filmmakers, poets, actors, dancers, musicians, models, sociologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and dreamers - people with a social conscious and an interest in the arts. He hopes that through discourse with friends, sharing thoughts and ideas, life’s journey will become more navigable - projects completed, dreams realized.

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