Vol. 8 One Horn Quartet

I believe that to play as a head of “One-horn Quartet” of piano, bass, and drams is the ultimate dream or a fantasy of Jazz saxophonists.

But retrospectively thinking, I have less experiences of this format surprisingly.

My first acoustic Jazz group was a trio with bass and drums.
It was when I just entered my twenties.

In those days, the scene of Japanese Jazz music was almost dominated by the movement of reaffirmation of Acoustic Jazz.
In such time, my group of such a simple format must have been reckless, and a challenge against myself.

To remove piano, which forms harmonies as a chord instrument, accomplished a major shift of significance of the sound to sax, making the playing style highly challenging for myself.

The room given as a result of removing piano, enabled me to play more freely, however such a style required quite convincing expressions.

Until then I liked Fusion which is simple and pop.
To start to play “so called JAZZ”, I was with a strong will.

“If I play it, I want to make it serious and stoic.”

I was inexperienced, but I had such an enthusiasm.

I was young and reckless. I rushed single-mindedly making my sound style avant-garde.

Fortunately in those days I was privileged with the honor to play in “Takeshi Shibuya’s Orchestra”. Takeshi Shibuya is a pianist, an arranger, and one of the giants of Japanese Jazz musical scene. I was just like a baby then, but he hired me as a regular member.

This band called “SHIBU-OKE (Shibu-Orche)” consisted of players who are all experienced, with strong characters, and can play freely. My mentor, Kosuke Mine was also there.
I got shocked everytime I played there surrounded by those great musicians who did improvisation without any restriction but with great tradition.

Playing techniques I could think of were totally insufficient to reach that level.

It was a matter of course. I was in “SHIBU-OKE” between the ages of 21 to 28. Then I quit finally in order to quest what I should have done.

After that I went to New York. After coming back to Japan, I have concentrated on my own concept of activity, “JAZZ ROOTS”, as a place of my expression with my original songs of Fusion style.

But its sound is always based on the style of the free format.

Recently I talked with my old friend Koichi Inoue, a drummer, that

“We have never tried a standard-Jazz-band straightforwardly. Why don’t we try it?”

The ultimate dream I have never tried.

One Horn Quartet.

All the sprits I have acquired to this date are encouraging me to make another new start.

Jun Usuba

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