Monday, December 28, 2009

Random Shop Welcome Sign

The picture quality isn't great on this one, and my apologies for that, but I think you can still read the sign pretty easily. It's the welcome sign for a small store in Karuizawa.

This shop is on the road that leads from Karuizawa shinkansen (bullet train) station out to the Ginza area of this quiet Nagano prefecture mountain town.

I have no idea what the shop sells (it was closed for the winter)...I'll let you take your own guess.

The apostrophe leads me to believe that it could be the owner's (nick)name, but regardless of whence it originated I'm sure that several tourists before me have noticed it while walking by.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Robert Glasper at the Cotton Club

Eight of us went to go see The Robert Glasper Experiment at the Cotton Club on Saturday night.

I first saw him perform at the same place back in April of this year, and it was great to hear several of the songs that I knew from his third album, In My Element, which was released in 2007. But that outing was a night with The Robert Glasper Trio, and this Saturday was a very different experience indeed.

Glasper's most recent album, Double-Booked (2009), is a solid and balanced slate of songs recorded by both The Trio and The Experiment. Saturday's performance involved songs by the latter with some intriguing covers thrown in for good measure (Radiohead, no less!).

Again, seeing and hearing the songs performed live adds several new layers of meaning to what I have been listening to for the past several months. And the band's playfulness and chemistry made for a very entertaining night that had my head rocking from the very moment that drummer Chris Dave started hitting things.

Also quite memorable for me was the liberal use of vocoder and keytar by saxophonist Casey Benjamin, and the connection between bassist Derrick Hodge and Chris Dave is truly a sight to behold. The grooves and riffs underpinning the Experiment's music makes this act an experience of both discovery and deja vu for any fan of jazz and hip hop.