These guys were fun.
The Kanazawa Jazz Festival is a pretty big deal. For the festival weekend the whole city has a jazz soundtrack and every time you turn a corner you move from one sub-genre to another. It became another reunion for the Irish first-year JETs and we had people up from Shizuoka, Kyoto, Niigata, Gunma and Hiroshima. There tends to be a lot of heavy drinking on these weekends but we managed to see a few jazz acts, do some sight-seeing around Kanazawa and go to a festival in the nearby town of Tsubata. I will do a separate post on that festival because it was pretty crazy, but the Kanazawa sight-seeing was great because it was the first time I went to the 21st Century Art Museum and to the Higashi Tea District which has what is apparently the most photographed street in Japan.
The standard of all the acts we saw (many of them amateur) were very high, and I would guess that for some, this would be due to their musical experience at school. While the seriousness with which the Japanese take their club and sports activities at school can be quite scary, it must be said that the students really become excellent at what they do. My school has a brass band that is just as good as the acts I saw at the festival, and it’s no wonder with all the hard work they put in. Several times a week they stay after school to practice and I can hear them practicing diligently away in some far corner of the school when I leave.
No Jazz Festival would be complete without some delightfully typical jazz musicians who toe the fine line between pretension and coolness.