| Koinuma Music Co., Ltd. is one of Japan's leading music promotion companies. We have been producing and promoting concert performances of international and domestic artists since our establishment in 1970 (as Ai Music; renamed in 1982). In our early years we also acted as an artist management firm, with a roster including Masabumi Kikuchi, Sadao Watanabe and Terumasa Hino.
In the 1970s we organized the first concert tours of Japan by Cecil Taylor, Dollar Brand, Keith Jarrett, Andrew Hill, Don Cherry and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Both McCoy Tyner's and Jackie McLean's first Japanese performances as bandleaders were promoted by Koinuma Music. In the 1980s we presented Pat Metheny, Miles Davis and the Count Basie Orchestra conducted by Thad Jones, and realized the first Japanese performances of Astor Piazzola and Carla Bley, as well as the groups of Jan Garbarek and Bill Frisell. While keeping up with the sounds of the times, we have always focused on the true artist whose music is timeless and transcends mere trends.
Our association with Keith Jarrett has been particularly productive. Since his first visit to Japan, in 1974, we have promoted all his concerts in this country -- performances in solo, trio and quartet format (including a solo concert at the Nippon Budokan, and a tour of his Nordic quartet Belonging). In the spring of 1987 we presented Mr. Jarrett's 100th anniversary solo concert, and our creative collaboration continues to this day.
Also among our prouder achievements was the planning and production of two festivals: "Live Under The Sky" (1977-92) and "Tokyo Music Joy" (1985-91).
"Live Under The Sky" was the first full-scale, open-air live music festival in Japan. In the years following the initial program -- a four-day run in Tokyo that featured the V.S.O.P. Quintet -- the lineup of featured artists became increasingly diverse. The festival also grew in scale and became more international in scope with the addition of performances in other parts of Japan and in Hong Kong. In 1978, in collaboration with Orrin Keepnews of Fantasy Records, we produced the now-legendary concert in which Red Garland, whose whereabouts had been unknown to jazz fans for several years, returned to the stage. In 1979 we featured Brazilian musicians such as Elis Regina and Hermeto Pascoal. In addition to appearing with his acoustic V.S.O.P. and electric Rockit bands, Herbie Hancock performed as a member of a special group that also featured Carlos Santana and a young trumpeter named Wynton Marsalis, who had not yet debuted as a leader. Mr. Hancock, together with Wayne Shorter, collaborated with Brazilian Milton Nascimento in 1991.
Over the years, "Live Under The Sky" also featured Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman & Prime Time, the Sun Ra Arkestra, the Gil Evans Orchestra with Jaco Pastorius, and Sonny Rollins with Stanley Clarke and Pat Metheny. There were appearances by SXL (a collaboration among Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bill Laswell, L. Shankar and the Korean percussion group Samulnori), France's Orchestre National de Jazz, a 90th anniversary concert of the birth of Duke Ellington featuring an orchestra led by Gunther Schuller, and a tribute concert dedicated to John Coltrane.
"Tokyo Music Joy" was a very different kind of festival. In this series Keith Jarrett played the music of Bach, Bartok and Mozart in collaboration with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra and Chick Corea. Jarrett also performed with a Japanese musician who plays the traditional lute-like instrument known as the Biwa. Another program spotlighted the works of the internationally acclaimed Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu.
There were performances by George Russell's Living Time Orchestra and Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, the latter featuring Carla Bley, Don Cherry and Dewey Redman. There was a collaboration between Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal and Pat Metheny, a special evening in which the Art Ensemble of Chicago and Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy shared the bill, and a performance featuring music and dance of the Philippines and Southeast Asia conducted by the Filipino ethnomusicologist and composer José Maceda. "Tokyo Music Joy" featured music and collaborations that were unprecedented in Japan.
As club appearances by visiting jazz musicians became more frequent in the 1990s, there were fewer and fewer jazz performances in concert settings. We at Koinuma Music are well aware of the appeal of a club gig, where an audience can enjoy the performance at close proximity to the artist. But we also feel that there are pleasures exclusive to a concert setting, and have not compromised our dedication to the concert performance. In 1992 we put together a program entitled "The Concerts," featuring the Gary Thomas Group, the David Sanborn Group, the Bill Frisell Band and the trio of Pat Metheny/Dave Holland/Roy Haynes. More recently,
we have presented the Guitar Trio (John McLaughlin, Paco De Lucia, Al Di Meola), the Japan premiere of Ornette Coleman's "Skies of America," and Carla Bley's "Fancy Chamber Music" to Japanese audiences.
And, in the summer of 2003, from a quite unique point of view, different from those of "Live Under the Sky", "Tokyo Music Joy" or "The Concerts", we have produced a music event entitled "The Synergy Live". As we are watching current vigorous European jazz scene, we are planning to produce most elaborate concerts inviting each one group from six countries for the commemorative first event.
In addition to our promotional activities, East Wind Music, the production arm of our organization, continues to be active in music publishing as well as the production of numerous audio and visual works. Maintaining the broad outlook that has always been our defining characteristic, we at Koinuma Music and East Wind Music plan to continue presenting music of quality to as many people as possible, for many more years to come.