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Jazz Club with good mood in Naha

By: By Yugo Sato

Date Posted: 2012-03-23

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.

I am a guitarist, and I don't have a lot of opportunities to meet other guitarists, because a jazz band usually has only one. If there are more than two guitarists in the band, that should be a unique project or shows the band players have a really good relationship to one another.

One night as I strolled to find new jazz bars in Okinawa, I found one bar in Naha where the owner is also a guitarist. The bar is “Parker's Mood Jazz Club” run by Kousuke Johma. Kousuke Johma is a guitarist who is playing as a pro musician all around Japan, even though he is only in his mid 30s, and his stronghold is Okinawa.

Parker's Mood Jazz Club is located at the edge of Kokusai Street in Naha, and the exterior is modern. The bar is on the 2nd floor of the building, and you can relax and feel very comfortable. It's really a super space to take in and savor jazz music, because one can see the way the musicians play from one’s seat. The bar is named after musician Charley Parker, Kousuke's favorite jazz man. There’s a big picture of him hanging on the wall.

Kousuke Johma was born in Amagasaki City, Hyogo prefecture. He started to play guitar when he was 10 years old, moving to Great Britain when he was in his teens, and eventually started to work as a pro guitarist. In 1999, he migrated back to his own roots, Okinawa. After returning, he went on playing with not only Okinawan or mainland Japanese musicians, but also with foreign players too. In 2009, he opened his jazz club “Parker's Mood Jazz Club” in Kumoji, Naha City.

I visited the place a couple of times. During my first visit, we didn’t talk much because I arrived quite late. But on the second time, we talked a lot about music, our favorite musicians and of course, about guitars. We had a lot of fun. He called in some foreign musicians and got them to play at his bar regularly. He is also playing and improving his skills at the bar daily.

The bar is open 365 days a year, from 6:30 p.m. to l~ 2 a.m., with live music every day except on Wednesdays (although the bar is open). The members of his regular band are excellent! All members are well-known musicians in Okinawa, and always pump out an impressive sound. At the same time, the bar serves pretty good food or garnishes, and of course cocktails and alcohol. If you have a chance to visit Naha, I really recommend you visit Parker’s Mood.

Parker’s Mood Jazz Club is located in Kumoji on the 2nd floor of the Yamaneko Building, 3-15-1 Kumoji, in Naha City, just around the corner from Kokusai Street.

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