Soil & “Pimp” Sessions @ Asagiri Jam – It’s A Beautiful Day! (Oct. 11th, 2014)

Jazz pimps headline the festival in style
Live Report Soil & “Pimp” Sessions @ Asagiri Jam – It’s A Beautiful Day! (Oct. 11th, 2014)

Soil & Pimp

Over ten years and ten studio albums in, Japanese club jazz sextet Soil & Pimp Sessions are at the top of their game, and pushing jazz and funk to new heights. Fresh off their new album, ‘Brothers & Sisters’ , the group came ready to drop some new tunes and celebrate old ones to ensure this particular session would be one of their best ever.

Soil & Pimp has played Asagiri Jam a couple of times before but were previously slotted to shorter 50 min afternoon sets. This time around they were playing the headlining role, the longest set of the fest on the main stage. This is a slot that Asagiri Jam has reserved for some big names in the past such as The Chemical Brothers, Joe Strummer, The Pogues, The Skatalites, DJ Shadow and Lee Scratch Perry. I’ve seen some of the aforementioned acts play live before, and I can easily say that Soil & Pimp’s performance deserved being placed among these heavyweights of the industry.

The crowd was packed in tightly and ready to dance and groove along with the self proclaimed death jazz pimps. Prior to things kicking off, the sound check had the crowd buzzing. This wasn’t a casual sound check, as the members entered the stage they played surprisingly hard. It amounted to the most lively and aggressive sound check I’ve ever seen. A cool breeze was blowing through Asagiri that night, but things were hot and sweaty in the crowd before the band even officially started. Soil & PimpThey began their set in similarly epic fashion coming out to the orchestral climax of Ennio Morricone’s classic “The Ecstasy of Gold” from the film ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’. Being given the full hour and a half time slot really worked to Soil & Pimp’s advantage. This is a band that thrives on the chance to allow their music room to breathe and each member time to jam out into extended solos. This is what makes jazz interesting and what makes up the sessions part of Soil & Pimp reign true. Each live show or session will be different, as there is constant improvisation and battling between instrumentals, playing off of each other and the crowd.

Another unique aspect of Soil & Pimp is the use of a hypeman or agitator with their frontman, Shacho. He really pushed the excitement on this night, keeping the crowd engaged and well aware of the raw talent on display. He often looks blown away himself at what is happening around him, which I’m sure is often the case. Pick your favourite member and be prepared to be awed, Midorin is a beast on drums, keeping things in beat when the speed of the death jazz takes hold. The two members that have always stood out for me with Soil & Pimp, are Tabu Zombie on trumpet and Motoharu on sax and they did so again on this night. Their take on jazz is to attack it full on. Of course, there are funky breakdowns and slower parts too, but this isn’t jazz to be put on in the background, or tap your toes to, it’s called death jazz for a reason. Motoharu can often be seen gasping from cans of oxygen during sets. The exchange between him and Tabu is electric, the speed and ferocity the two bring gives hard bop a new meaning. It’s exciting for Japanese music and exciting for jazz worldwide for this band to continue its success. Soil & Pimp They played through older classics such as “Waltz for Goddess” and “Funky Goldman”, while playing tunes off their new album such as “Shout!!”. Through it all the crowd was yelling, jumping, skanking, shaking and moshing. I saw a couple firsts of the weekend from the crowd during their set such a guy in a blue devil costume drinking whisky through a straw and a girl on shoulders in the back take her shirt off to the band’s delight. If you thought jazz was an old tired genre, you ain’t seen Soil & Pimp rock a show, they were on point tonight and when they are nobody can do it like them.

–>Live Photos : Soil & “Pimp” Sessions
or Live Photos : Suwa & Hagi

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Photos:
Yutaro Suzuki
yutaro@smashingmag.net
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Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

James Mallion's Works

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