Live at The Rooster with Azuma Mitsuyoshi

3-10-2003

Azuma Mitsuyoshi : guitar and vocals

Tommy Chung : guitar and vocals

Iida Kazutaka : Blues harp

Shio Hayasaki : Piano

"King" Koya Hisakazu : Bass

Stephane Wong : Drums

The Rooster is certainly one of the most famous live house in Tokyo and Azuma san is certainly also one of the most famous Blues musician in Japan. It was a great honour and pleasure to be able to play on the same stage with him.

 

The Rooster is situate in the basement. When you walk dowm the stairs you see the drawings of great great Blues and Jazz musicians on the wall, there is Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and a host of other great Blues and Jazz musicians. The feeling was one of heavenly earth.

I was on the plane to Japan and read in one of the inflight magazine about the attractions of Hong Kong. One column was about music and the caption reads "Cantonese pop music is all embracing in Hong Kong" against which is a group of female pop singers. The statement is certainly true and sadly so. There music media had contrived to make Cantonese pop music the only music avialiable in air play in Hong Kong to the exclusion of all other music. Apart from the Cantonese pop market, there is no other music market. I cannot think of one band on a record label; record labels in Hong Kong are interested only in singers. All you have is sugar-coated soft centre music. That is fine, but we also need music with heart and soul.

An alarming number if local customers at 48th Street always say I play good Jazz. I tell them I cannot play one single note of Jazz and that I am playing the Blues. It is not their fault. If you grow up in Hong Kong, the fact that you cannot distinguish between Jazz and Blues is more the rule than the exception. In Japan Blues is mainstream music. Recently, a comic book actually had a story based on the Blues!! The background of the story is The Rooster !!

One of the main characters of the story is "Weep Harp" Senoh san.

The venue is exactly like this!!

Azuma san is one the best known and one of the best Blues players in Japan. When I was young, I use to buy LPs from his band "The Roller Coaster". We started off with a duet with Azume and me following by three songs by my trio band and thereafter the whole band played together.

 

 

Bass solo

King Koya and Kazutaka

 

 

Kazutaka san on the Blues harp

Shio Hayasaki

With the owner Sato san

With Aki and Eddy

 
We had a really great evening playing the Blues. Sadly though, the Rooster show turned out to be the last show Stephane played with me on this Japan tour. Stephane missed out all the shows in Osaka.
 

 

Life always has its element of surprise; you just don't know what will happen. On the third day upon our arrival, Stephane fell ill. He started off with a mild throat ach followed by a mild fever. Stephane took medication and at times he seemed to be getting better. In fact his condition was deterioating. Unkonw to everyone including himself, he was to have acute inflamation of the tonsile soon and would require immediate medical treatment. He was greatly missed in the shows I played in Osaka.

With Hayasaki and Kazutaka

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With Azuma

 

Our next stop was The Red House in Osaka and we were to take the Bullet Train

in the morning of 4th Saturday October, 2003

To the next show : The Red House in Osaka

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