JAZZ PROMO SERVICES 2

August 30, 2013To: Listings/Critics/Features
From: Jazz Promo Services
Press Contact: Jim Eigo, jim@jazzpromoservices.com
www.jazzpromoservices.com
New Release:Meg Okura &
the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble

“Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto”

Featuring

Meg Okura (violin & erhu)
Anne Drummond (flutes)
Helen Sung (piano)
Dezron Douglas (bass)
E.J. Strickland (drums)

Artist: Meg Okura & the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble
Title: Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto

Label: Self Produced

Catalog Number: AAM 0705

UPC Code: 884501962186

Release Date: September 3, 2013
Track listing, track times and composer:

(1) Grasshoppers (6:02)

(2) Riot in Lagos (4:58)

(3) Tango (5:02)

(4) Grief (10:19)

(5) Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (4:11)

(6) The End Of Asia (5:47)

(7) You’ve Got To Help Yourself/Ishin Denshin (5:27)

(8) The Last Emperor Theme (7:02)

(9) Thousand Knives (5:02)

(10) Helen’s Intro (1:48)

(11) Water’s Edge (5:07)

(12) Perspective (5:54)

Recording Dates: December 2012 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

My role as the arranger for this album was akin to that of being a translator and editor. I often get frowns when I introduce Sakamoto’s techno pop tracks to my jazz musician friends. They understandably cannot get passed the 80’s vocoder and synthesizer sounds and the groove or lack thereof. But for someone who grew up listening to the Yellow Magic Orchestra since age five, this music is sheer nostalgia. I just need to play this music for my own pleasure.

Performed by five New York jazz musicians, Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto is a re-imagination of works from Sakamoto’s debut album Thousand Knives (1978) to his symphonic work “Untitled#01” on his 1997 album Discord. In between include two of his most famous film scores, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983) and The Last Emperor (1987). I have also included two songs from two albums that came out during my college days, Sweet Revenge (1994) and Smoochy (1995).

Because Sakamoto’s music is so eclectic, all types of “arranging” techniques were used for this project. For example, “Perspective” (B-2 Unit) is my “remix” of the original song, whereas “Grief” (Discord) is a re-composition- dissecting different elements of the symphonic work, and re-composing it for the quintet and still conveying similar feels of the original. The techno pieces such as “The End of Asia” and “Thousand Knives” (Thousand Knives) or “You’ve Got To Help Yourself” (Service) by Y.M.O. were made entirely anew, far from the originals, while “The Last Emperor Theme” was kept close to its original score with some improvised solos. As for the two vocal tunes from the 1990’s, “Tango”
(Smoochy) and “Water’s Edge” (Sweet Revenge) became simple instrument versions, and “Grasshopper” (Thousand Knives) and “Riot in Lagos” (B-2 Unit) are what I call “reverse-remix” – creating an acoustic version of an electronica piece.

Even though there are other cover versions of these tunes, recorded by Sakamoto’s associates, what makes our renditions unique is that they’re played by jazz musicians, which makes it possible for the music to take on a life of its own, creating infinite musical possibilities for those tunes. I wish to honor Ryuichi Sakamoto through this album, which will represent only a fragment of his music that will essentially become immortal. —Meg Okura

Artist Website: www.megokura.com / www.panasianchamberjazzensemble.com

Media Requests
For Interviews, photos and preview copies for review contact
Jim Eigo
Jazz Promo Services
272 State Route 94 South #1
Warwick, NY 10990-3363
Ph: 845-986-1677 / Fax: 845-986-1699
Cell / text: 917-755-8960
Skype: jazzpromo
jim@jazzpromoservices.com
www.jazzpromoservices.com
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