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Kazutoki Umezu "Kiki Band" (JP)

Kazutoki Umezu "Kiki Band" (JP)

Kazutoki Umezu Kiki Band is difficult to catrgorize. It may be the newest type of Jazz-Rock. Its sound may be like progressive rock.

They like unusual beats. But basically it must be jazz. If you listen the rhythm, you'll feel rock, and if you follow the melody you feel like listening ethnic music.

The Kiki Band is a powerhouse of a band that has perhaps toured outside Japan more than any other jazz group, though “jazz” may not be quite the right genre to slip them into. They are a band of equals where everyone can be themselves and bring into the music their own special interests, melding it all into a unique sound that has filled their live shows with devoted fans for over 15 years and eight CDs.

Unlike some groups who take a few songs to warm up, the Kiki Band leaps right into it from note one. Listening to them, even from the back of the room, is like facing a front line of football linemen–they are heavy, tough and ready to play. Trump pounds the skins so hard you think they’ll break. Kido jumps in and out of speed metal guitar. Hayakawa drops a heavy funk bass into every tune. Umezu plays two saxes, interweaving Middle Eastern dervishes with free jazz flourishes, when one sax is just not enough.

This is not bang-away jazz-rock, nor would the term “punk jazz” quite fit either. The power of the players is simply unfiltered, so that a very unique blend of diverse influences comes together into a potent musical alloy that is nuanced, complex and high energy. Yes, the band is loud, open, free and that is surely the most appealing part of their music. However, their playing to the full comes more from an obsession with electric music, but with playing emotionally open. Their music is filled with intense emotions that have to come out. And do.

The band loves mixing influences, but they also love letting their emotions pour out into the music. The huge streams of feeling never get in the way of the complexity of the music, nor does the well-conceived structure ever impinge on the feelings. The Kiki Band seems to have found all the right balances, and because of that they create intense, beautiful and big fun music. One of the best bands in Japan!

They released 9 albums and 1 DVD: Live in Zappanale 24 (2013) where they played the following set:

Squirrelly Dragon - DOWSER (2005)
Monkey Mash - DOWSER (2005)
Gibbs' Paradox - Coyote (2013)
Gelcoroido
Tohoku - Izumoya
Dressler # 36 - DOWSER (2005)
Crawler – Land Dizzy (2002)
Jumina - A Chrysalis' Dream (2010)
Make Make - A Chrysalis' Dream (2010)
Viva Chuosen Jazz - DOWSER (2005)
Flying Head - KIKI (2001)

Kiki Band are:

Kazutoki Umezu (As,Ss,Bcl)
Natsuki Kido (Guitar)
Takeharu Hayakawa (Bass)
Joe Trump (Drs,Per)

Additional Info

FaLang translation system by Faboba
© Zappanale Festival 2017