Improvised Music from Japan / Shibusashirazu Orchestra
(written by Teruto Soejima, Jazz Critic)
Shibusashirazu Orchestra, which is at the forefront of contemporary jazz, was formed by bassist Daisuke Fuwa in 1989 as a free jazz orchestra.
The orchestra is, so to speak, a multimedia jazz performance group consisting of over twenty musicians, including many well known Japanese performers such as Hiroaki Katayama (ts) and Takeshi Shibuya (p), as well as Butoh dancers, modern dancers, theater actors, and artists.
All of the works played by Shibusashirazu Orchestra are Japanese jazz works composed or arranged by Daisuke Fuwa. The orchestra gives exciting stage performances, with its dynamic sound and lively dancing and acting. Large moving objects made by stage artists make the audiences even more enthusiastic. (A twenty-meter-long dragon danced in the air over the audience in their 1998 European tour.)
It can be said that Shibusashirazu Orchestra is not only a jazz orchestra but also a group that brings together various aspects of contemporary Japanese culture. Some of its performances show the course of Japanese music from the Middle Ages to the present, as the group includes musicians playing traditional Japanese instruments such as shamisen, shakuhachi, and ryuteki (a bamboo flute).
- Formed as the orchestra accompanying a play performed by the theater group Hakken no Kai.
- Played in two jazz festivals, the Honmoku Jazz Festival and the Yokohama Jazz Promenade. For its performance at the latter festival, received high praise and was called the highlight of the festival. Was asked to appear at the festival every year.
- Won the Kirin Contemporary Award, for the video Inugami, which shows a joint performance with the theater group Furen Dance.
- Released its debut CD, Shibusamichi, and its second CD, Dettaramen.
- Started the independent biannual local tour Tent Shibusa. At about this time, began multimedia performances, with dance and visual arts.
- Organized the independent label Chitei Records, and released the CD Something Difference on this label.
- Released the CD Be Cool, whith was selected as one of best three album of the year by the Japanese magazine Music Magazine.
- Leader Daisuke Fuwa's trio Fedayen played at the Moers International New Jazz Festival. Several members of Shibusashirazu Orchestra (including Butoh dancers and artists) also participated in the performance at the festival.
- Fedayen toured Russia and Lithuania; several members of Shibusashirazu Orchestra again took part in the tour.
- Released the CD Shibusasai, which was selected one of the year's best five album by Music Magazine.
- Three-week-long European tour of all of the members of Shibusashirazu Orchestra. Played in nine cities in six countries, including performances at the Moers New Jazz Festival in Germany and festivals in Italy and Slovenia.
- Released the CD Shibusaryu, which earned five stars from the Japanese jazz magazine Swing Journal.
- At the Yokohama Jazz Promenade, in addition to a concert, produced and staged the musical drama Akkan with the theater group Furen Dance.
Recently, has each year been voted one of the best ten in the big band category of Swing Journal's annual poll.
Last updated: December 5, 1999