Saturday, 28 May 2011

Takatsuki Street Jazz

The city of Takatsuki lies somewhere between Osaka and Kyoto. Every year it plays host to one of the biggest free jazz festivals in Japan, with musicians converging to the streets and local venues to do their stuff! Having thoroughly enjoyed the Otsu jazz festival last year, the promise of a bigger and better festival was definitely on our agenda especially with Dave and Cara in town.

We arrived there on the second day and things were really jumping at that stage with numerous bands in the streets that surrounded the railway station. The event was well supported with big crowds sitting and standing in the streets enjoying the warm weather, a beer and some great sounds. During the afternoon we kept on moving, following our map to the various performance venues that varied from street corners, intimate caf├ęs or to packed bars that spilled out into the street. The music continued into the night with a multitude of jazz music styles catching the ear as we walked around enjoying the smell of tasty food cooking at several of the venues. We saw some terrific acts, but we thought that we would catch just one more before the last train home. As we wandered in search, we must have looked lost as a man on a bicycle took the time to stop to help. It turned out that he was one of the major organizers of the festival and with typical Japanese friendliness, he was keen to make sure that we made it to the final event and that we had enjoyed our experience. It had indeed been a terrific day, as we had met lots of friendly folks of all ages, who were similarly enjoying plenty of cool sounds performed by some fantastic musicians.

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