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Strolling Jazz Bar finds Groove

By: Yugo Sato

Date Posted: 2012-02-24

Editor’s Note: A professional jazz guitarist, Yugo Sato, visits Japan Update occasionally, 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.

After I migrated to Okinawa, I walked around and enjoyed playing a lot of jazz clubs and live houses for making new relationships of music friends (of course I’m doing that even now). One day, after the session with some musicians at some bar, one musician said to me that “Your style should be good at the Live House Groove, just try it!” I had not heard of the place before.

At once, I looked for that name on Google, and found the Groove is located at Jitchaku in Urasoe City. My wife, who is originally from Okinawa, knows a bit, and told me it has been located there a long time. One day, I heard that there would be a session day and went there, but the owner of Groove, Uechi “Gacha” Kazuya, was not there that day. I talked the staff of the Groove a bit and I got new information that he is the bassist, and I left my CD and business card to Groove on that day.

After visiting Groove, I searched and found the bar Groove on Facebook and sent the request message to be a friend on the Facebook, and he accepted it kindly, and let me know when he would be playing at Groove the next time. And I got his nickname too, he is called “Gacha” his full name now known as Kazuya “Gacha” Uechi.

A couple of days later, I went to the Groove again to watch the live session that Gacha was performing. That day the session was only piano and wood bass, and they played a wide genre from freeform, a classic music of Okinawa, to kind of a baby-sitting songs. After the session we talked about lot of things, and I felt he is a person who has a modest personality, passionate words and musical thinking, and I got a good feeling at once.

He said he has been running the Groove almost 20 years now, and he has been playing bass guitar after he opened the bar. He says “I think it is not interesting that Rock or Jazz or any music stays the same; it’s should be changing with every generation!” I really bet it! I think the worst thing for music is to keep the same style, and the bar Groove is ready to take any generation’s thinking and playing style and creating a new scene with any material. I really like it. The artists playing at Groove are so diverse; dance, free jazz, or drawing pictures with playing or only listening to music, just like that. It’s the style of anything welcome!!
Additional information, I got request from Gacha that he’ll play at Groove on March 29th, and wants me to join in. I'm so excited!!

Groove is located close to Camp Kinser Main Gate. Out of the main gate turn right onto Hwy 58 and take the left lane. The bar is located before the second traffic light below the overpass in the basement. at Jitchaku intersection in Urasoe. To enjoy the interesting music live at Groove any night, check Groove website at http://www.cosmos.ne.jp/~groove/

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