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Jazz Impressions of Japan

49 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 1, 2008
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$4.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 7 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Jazz Impressions of Japan + Time Further Out + Jazz Goes to College
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Editorial Reviews


1. Tokyo Traffic
2. Rising Sun
3. Toki's Theme from CBS-TV Series, "Mr. Broadway"]
4. Fujiyama
5. Zen Is When
6. The City Is Crying
7. Osaka Blues
8. Koto Song

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 1, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
  • ASIN: B0012GMY3M
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,137 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Leif Thorsted on May 19, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The 8 tracks on this album capture Brubeck at his best as a composer. He appeared to be consciously striving to achieve the simple, succinct, and profound features of haiku. "Rising Sun" is as understated and pretty a melody as I've ever heard from anyone. "Tokyo Traffic" is classic, west-coast cool. "Toki's Theme" is 60's camp. "Fujiyama" is a contemplative piece that features Brubeck sounding like Bach chasing notes around in a circle. "Zen is When" is an atmospheric, peaceful, and hypnotic lullaby. "The City is Crying" is vintage Brubeck Quartet that showcases Paul Desmond. "Osaka Blues" is a straight forward swing that allows Brubeck to stab harmonic chords over the pitch-perfect bass and druming of Wright and Morello, respectively. "Koto Song" is the most Japanese-sounding track on the album. Again, very atmospheric, very contemplative and very hypnotic.
I like this album every bit as much as "Time Out" and "West Side Story". "Jazz Impressions of Japan" should be in everyones jazz collection. It's great if you blast it and just as great if you have it as background music.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Michael Mikesell on August 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This was out of print for far too long! The album finds Brubeck, Desmond, and Co. at their fluid best, making pretty, intricate music that--to my ears at least--does justice to the Japanese inspirations for the music while still sounding very much like great American jazz. The closing piece, "Koto Song," is sublime.
Terrific sound quality, par for the course with Legacy's other great jazz reissues. It's a little short, but look at it this way: 35 minutes of great music played twice is 35 more minutes of greatness than you'd hear in a padded 70-minute release.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By nowhereman on March 10, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I was fascinated by the cover of this album. When I gazed at it and saw that it was Brubeck doing jazz with his quartet that was influenced by their tour in Japan, I decided to buy it without having heard it at all.
This was a great gamble. The music would appeal to most people who liked "Take Five." And the subtle touches of Japanese music and culture enhance the experience. It is a good thing that Brubeck didn't try to make an album of Japanese music without a Western foundation; that would probably have been a mistake. I am of the belief that music is often at its best when two or more styles are fused together. Such is the case here.
The packaging is wondferful and the sound is great. I have not been disappointed with a Columbia / Legacy reissue yet. The fact that this album has just been finally issued on CD for the first time after being out of print for years proves how underrated this album has always been. This is a great, unknown album from one of the more underappreciated jazz giants.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Walsh on April 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My first experience with the Dave Brubeck Quartet's "Jazz Impressions of Japan" was a live performance at Providence College, Providence, RI, in 1964, not long after the quartet's return from Japan. I was thrilled to hear it as a nineteen-year-old and am even more awed by its uniqueness now that I am sixty-three. I hope others will discover or rediscover this marvelous musical set too.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kay's Husband on October 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I got to Japan in October, 1962, and resided outside Yokohama until December, 1964, remembering quite well when Brubeck and company came to Tokyo the Spring of 1964. This album, though one of my favorites, has been out of print until recently when Sony finally re-released it to disc. Maybe there is yet hope for BOSSA NOVA USA.

Listening again to the disc this morning it tranported me back to those days in Tokyo and Yokohama when Japan was bustling and hurtling into the 18th Olympiad in Tokyo for the 1964 Olympic Games. When I landed in Japan all of Honshu, especially the Kanto Plain, was seemingly under contruction for the games that would soon begin, with most of the building & construction happening during the night time hours.

Many performers from Monk, Cannonball Adderley, to Peter, Paul, and Mary began to show up over there at Sankei Hall, and from the weekly This Week In Tokyo I could pick and choose to see whomever, wherever, and whenever. Since Tokyo was little more than 20 minutes from Yokohama Central Station by commuter train, I often spent as much time there as in Yokohama, a city of 16 kilometers (approx. 12 miles) from where I lived. And in late '63 or early '64 even got to see The Four Freshmen when they had a one night stand at the Officer's Club in Yokohama. In those mid 1960 years, Japan seemed a haven for visiting performers, and as today, the Japanese really enjoyed jazz. There were so many jazz coffee houses in Yokohama by the Isezakicho canal, one had little trouble lazing away off duty hours listening to jazz while sipping a Sloe Gin fizz.

For me, having lived in Japan at the time of this recording, experiencing daily the Japanese and their lifestyle, whenever I put this CD on, I am immediately transported back to the land of the Rising Sun.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Fox on October 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a time capsule this little jazz album is! Don't get me wrong, by that I don't mean that it's dated. No, decades have passed, but the music here seems as fresh and jazzy as ever--sometimes it's sprightly and rambunctious, sometimes laid back and meditative, now it's red hot and then it's got a bit of the blues. But whatever the case, Dave Brubeck and his Quartet keep the tunes flowing along without missing a beat. This is definitely fine jazz music in the tradition of their classic "Time Out" album, only lesser known and with a mildly orientalish twist.

Still, listening to "Jazz Impressions of Japan" is like taking a trip back in time to Japan in the early sixties, around the very time Mr. Brubeck was getting those impressions and translating them into music. Which is kind of incredible, because only the last track ("Koto Song"--an ingenious fusion of fine koto melodies from Kyoto and jazz improvisation) explicitly adapts actual Japanese music in a recognizable manner, but all of them capture the moods of this lively decade of Japan's history with startling vividness, and that despite the annoyingly inauthentic "gong" sound they insist on using here and there throughout. "The music we have prepared tries to convey these minute but lasting impressions, somewhat in the manner of classical haiku, wherein the poet expects the reader to feel the scene himself as an experience," Brubeck explains in the liner notes, and so he succeeded, at least in my case.

Incidentally, the haiku theme permeates the liner notes, with Brubeck cleverly appending an appropriate poem to each track, including ones by three of the greats of the Haiku tradition: Matsuo Basho, Kobayashi Issa, and Yosa Buson.
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