Far East Family Band – Japan Part 2.

Kitaro – part 1
Far East Family Band (jap.: ファー・イースト・ファミリー・バンド, pronounced : Fā Īsuto Famirī Bando )

Kitaro (喜多郎) was born February 4, 1953 in Toyohashi (豊橋市) Aichi Prefecture, Japan, as Masanori Takahashi. His nickname Kitaro was given to him by friends.
In the early ’70s he joined the legendary Psychedelic/Space Rock band “Far East Family Band”, playing keyboards. On the Debut “the Cave Down To Earth” they play a wonderful space rock not unlike Pink Floyd, with ethnic Asian/Japanese elements, creating a very unique sound, an overlooked pearl of very high standarts. “Far easy family band” is highly regarded in the progressive rock community, but is basically unknown to the rest of the music world. Even in Japan, I could not get their records in normal record shops, and I have tried in a few.

Japan Part 1
Japan part 3


Hibari – Japan Part I.

Now I would like to take a look at some Japanese artists, from different styles of music .

Hibari Misora (美空 ひばりMay 29, 1937 – June 24, 1989, was an Iconic Japanese, singer and actress from Yokohama. Massively productive, she had her recording debut at the age of 12 and recorded more than 1,200 songs, and sold more than 80 million records, on top of that she appeared in 166 films.
Posthumously the first woman to receive the People’s Honour Award , for giving the public hope and encouragement. Her stage name literally means “lark of the beautiful sky”—fitting for a woman who was able to lift the collective spirits of the nation, after the horrors of world war II.

Japaneese Movie poster

She recorded in different styles, but in her later years, focused on the traditional Japanese enka. Enka (演歌?) is a popular Japanese music genre considered to resemble traditional Japanese music stylistically. Could say it is the Japanese form of traditional ballad.

“Kawa no nagare no yo ni” (above) was in a 1997 NHK poll (the public service media in Japan), voted greatest Japanese song of all time, with 17 million respondents.

Japan Part 2

Happy New Year ! – playlist. Track 7

Time for a drink, I will take a rest from the dance floor and drink a bourbon, just sit there, relax, and watch the couples slow dance to this nice piece of American folk music. Close my eyes for a sec and imagine im in a bar way out west.

The piece is from Cass McCombs’ seventh full-length album, Big Wheel and Others. Released Oct. 15 2013

Happy New Year ! – playlist. Track 6

My next track, is a piece of relatively easy going Progressive Rock, from my favorite Rock album this Year. Riverside’s “Shrine of New Generation Slaves” released Jan 18.
Riverside is a progressive rock band from Poland. Playing a music combined from elements of Progressive rock in a Pink Floyd style, and elements from Heavy Metal. The charismatic front man Mariusz Duda, has one of my favorite vocals in today’s Rock music.

Happy New Year ! – playlist. Track 4 and 5

Now I don’t want anyone to pop any trips or anything, but I have to say it was a great year for 60’s inspired psychedelic rock, hippie pop, acid rock or what you may want to call it. In January Foxygen released the colorful “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic”, In February Unknown Mortal Orchestra released the brilliant “II”. Both excellent examples of the new psychedelic music, coming from young bands.

Happy New Year ! – playlist. Track 3

Time for a slow dance, some might need a bit of kissing and hugging by now.

It is not often that a band loose it creative force, vocalist and guitarist. Just to make an even better and very innovative album, but that is what happened to Midlake, I believe their 2013 album “Antiphon” , the first without front man Tim Smith, is at least as good as the previous releases, a sort of progressive folk rock, unlike anything I have heard before.

Happy New Year ! – playlist. Track 2

Ok, now lets try something a little faster, who is ready to rock, and who is not. This music may not be as happy as the first track, but hey, life is more than sun, sand and gin tonic.

Kvelertak is a metal band from Stavanger, Norway. The track is from their 2nd album Meir, released 25/3 2013, Kvalertak has made it big on the international metal scene, even though they have chosen to keep the vocal in their local tongue, the Viking invasion is not over.

Happy New Year ! – playlist. Track 1

When people generally thinks about music for a new year playlist, they think about “dance” music. But the way I look at it, everything is dance music, its just a matter of a little extra imagination, if you can make a ballet from Stavinsky’s “Le Sacre du printemps”, you can dance to anything.
Anyway here is a few tracks from 2013, that I would like to swing my body around, after midnight.

Lets start sweating with a track from the Brooklyn-based “They Might Be Giants”, released 5/3 2013, An alternative band, writing funny and sparkling pop songs, in a very alternative and interesting way. Full of fun, happiness, sun and optimism, just a nice way to start up a new year party.

Stan Getz & Bill Evans

The Jazz album I have listened to the most in 2013:
Stan Getz & Bill Evans.
Cover 1988 CD version
Stan Gets

This studio recordings was made in May 5-6 1964, but apparently neither Getz nor Evans, was happy with the result, and for various reasons, the recordings was not released until 1973. But I love this album, its laid back and melodic jazz , perfect for a Sunday morning coffee, music for a candlelight dinner, or a very late night just before bedtime.

Japanese CD cover (based on original vinyl cover)

Bill Evens 1929-1980, born William John Evans, in New Jersey, was one of the greatest Jazz pianists of all times, I the late 50’s he joined the famous Miles Davis sextet, co-writing the milestone album “kind of Blue”. Although he was very innovative in his style, Evans was always playing a classic Jazz, never the new movements like jazz fusion or free jazz.

Stanley Getz 1927-1991, born in Pennsylvania. Was a prominent American Jazz tenor saxophonist, after playing with several bands in the 40’s (starting at the age of 17), he moved to Scandinavia, playing cool jazz with Oscar Peterson and many others, after returning to US in 1961, he became a front man in introducing latin jazz (bossa nova), and made several gold disc’s in the style, before he went back to playing cool jazz. In 1972 he recorded a fusion album, Captian Marvel, with Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and others.

The rest of the group was Ron Carter/Richard Davis on bass, Elvin Jones on drums

Digging Deeper into Music

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