It seems Japan’s gotten itself a club jazz scene. This fact alone is enough to make me want to visit the country. Few things could be better than hearing jazz the way it was originally made to be heard. The curiously-named Soil and “Pimp” Sessions is one of the leading bands on the scene and their success has led to solid record sales (especially for a jazz outfit) and growing international recognition.
I was able to nab their 2004 debut album, Pimpin’ and its full of hot gems. They play the “Pimp” thing pretty hard, with subsequent releases called Pimp Master, Pimp of the Year, Planet Pimp, etc. It’s kind of awkward, but I assure you Dear Reader that it is nothing akin to the music they play. Although, I have to admit, I probably would describe their music as “pimpin’ ” if I were a black man a decade ago. Simply put, these guys make music that’s a ton of fun, a fact exemplified by their employing an “agitator” (i.e. hypeman) for their shows.
“Fuller Love” is the first fleshed-out song on Pimpin’ and it’s just what you’d expect: uproarious, catchy, club jazz. It’s somehow smooth, classy, danceable, fun, and surprising all at once. This is the kind of jazz that’s perfect for the layman–it might be concerned with complex musical changes, impossible solos, and crazy chord changes or it might not. It doesn’t really matter. This track’s fire.
“Pimpnosis” is a more chilled affair. Driven by a great bass part played by Akita Goldman and cool organ chords by Josei, the whole track is smokey, smooth and cool. It’s definitely more my kind of thing and I only wish it were longer.