Japanese Jazz: Informel 8

August 8, 2009 / Daily Life / 3 Comments

There was this one guy I really, really admired in middle school. I have always wished be at least half as talented as he is. He’s extremely talented and dedicated to everything he does. Whenever he has a goal, he would relentlessly pursue it and is always confident of its success. In school, he had top notch grades, was an excellent badminton player, and was exceptionally talented at music. He sang well, breakdanced well and played the saxophone like a pro. In 9th grade, he said he was going to return to Japan so he had a better chance of going to Tokyo University, which is like Japan’s Harvard.

I recently reconnected with him via MSN and Facebook. It’s been 10 years since middle school. He’s now in Tokyo U’s grad school, still plays badminton, but more amazingly – he now plays the saxophone in an indie jazz band called Informel 8.

Last night he sent me some tracks from his band, and I was totally blown away. Informel 8 has the sophistication of Wayne Shorter (who is my favorite jazz musician, along with Joe Pass) and the mellowness of Johnny Hodges.

For jazz lovers, go listen to some tracks at Informel 8’s MySpace. I’ve added the tracklisting in French and English for those who don’t read Japanese.

  • 薔薇の男 – L’homme de la Rose – Man of the Rose
  • 空間の鳥 – L’oiseau dans l’espace – Bird in Space
  • 人形使い – Un Marionnettiste – A Puppeteer
  • 香しき夜 – La Nuit Aromatique – An Aromatic Night
  • 天使の秩序 – L’ordre Angelique – Angel’s Order (my favorite track!)
  • 水に浮かんだ家 – La Maison Flottante – Floating House
  • The Sleep of Paul Delveux
  • 美しき女庭師 – Beautiful Female Gardener

As an aside, my friend was telling me his band is named by a famous Japanese jazz / funk musician, Naruyoshi Kikuchi, who I think plays the saxophone with the sexiness of a rockstar. But I shall write about Naruyoshi Kikuchi some other time.

Back to my friend, I’m really happy to hear that he has achieved his childhood goals and is pursuing a larger goal again. It’s nice to see that hardwork, dedication and some talent pay off. Life suddenly seems more meaningful and colorful after a brief glance at his.

So I guess, even 10 years later, he is still an inspiration to me.

Dear readers, do you have anyone you admire or are inspired by? Do you like jazz? If you do, what do you think of Informel 8?