New York born Mark de Rose performed this year at Asagaya's Shinmeigu Shrine.|
The gig was the main event for the Asagaya JazzFest.
The group consisted of regular band member Peter St. Ledger a fantastic,versatile pianist, along with 2 new skillful collaborators, Guo Min playing a traditional percussive stringed instrument and Kizan Oyoshi on Shakuhachi.
The group gave a spirited performance blending some traditional jazz (they opened unexpectedly with My Favourite Things, a few other Asian compositions, and some eclectic original works done with a mellow oriental flavor befitting the venue.
Mark, with his infectious calming energy, easy stage presence, and impressive command of Japanese, quickly developed a rapport with his audience, which seemed a little smaller than what one would have expected, given the caliber of the music. (Jazz giant and Asagaya native Yamashita Yosuke, normally gets the top billing for this event. His absence this year may have accounted for the smaller turn out which probably draws aficionados from greater afar).
It was a warm night. Amid Shinmeigu Jinja's perfect tranquil setting, the group served up an eclectic array of tunes that clearly pleased the crowd. The audience also seemed enthralled by both the leader's percussive skills, and his curious collection of shells and chimes. All in all, it was a great, memorable performance.