KotoJazz 46: Thanksgiving & Holiday KotoJazz Schedule

I have some new songs I will play live at the events below in Seattle, Kirkland, and Cannon Beach, Oregon. Here are a sampling of the new recordings (note: the full versions are 4-6 minutes long. These are rough samples. Each song will be recorded live on a Steinway grand piano either at the November 30th or December 13th performances). Many of these are a departure from the koto jazz tunes themes (see Soundcloud for full version or links on the above “sample sounds” page):

  • Mount Index Ice Caves, shortened clip by Kenji
  • Tide Pools in the Wind, shortened clip by Kenji
  • Ode To Joy, shortened clip by Kenji
  • Haystack Horse Trot, shortened clip by Kenji
  • Springtime in Dead Winter, shortened clip by Kenji
  • November 22nd & 23rd (Saturday & Sunday), “Koto Jazz Season Suite and Thanksgiving” songs, by Kenji at Primary Elements, 7-9pm, in Cannon Beach, Oregon; no cover charge. Address: Primary Elements Gallery is located at 172 N. Hemlock, Cannon Beach, OR 97110; Call or text: 206-200-2733;

    November 30th (Sunday), “An Evening of Thanksgiving”, by Kenji at the The Royal Room, Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood, 8:00 – 10:00pm; no cover charge. The first hour is “An Evening of Thanksgiving, featuring at least popular songs about thanksgiving (e.g., Peter Kater and George Winston). This is followed by “Koto Jazz- Season Suite” by Kenji. This piano series is preceded by wine tasting at 6pm. For directions and map, visit map to Royal Room, Seattle. Address: 5000 Rainier Avenue, Seattle, WA 98118; Call or text: 206-200-2733;

    December 13th (Saturday), “Warming up for the Holidays” with Instrumental New Age Jazz by Chris Kenji at Stage Seven Piano Studio, 7:30-9pm, in Kirkland, Washington; no cover charge. Address: Stage Seven is located at 511 6th Street South, Kirkland, WA 98033; Call or text: 206-200-2733;

    Past:

    November 7th (Friday), “Season Suite”, by Kenji; Stormy Weather Arts Festival at Primary Elements, 6-8pm, in Cannon Beach, Oregon; no cover charge (includes wine and refreshments). Address: Primary Elements Gallery is located at 172 N. Hemlock, Cannon Beach, OR 97110; Call or text: 206-200-2733;

    NOVEMBER 8th (Saturday), “Koto Jazz Season Suite” album and New Age music by Kenji at the Brass Tacks, 7-9pm, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle; no cover charge. For directions and map, visit Brass Tacks Georgetown map. Address: 6031 Airport Way, South, Seattle, WA 98108; Call or text: 206-200-2733;

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    Koto Jazz 45: Water Garden Ponds

    Ike (池), or garden pond, has been accepted as an assumed part of the Japanese gardens, symbolizing a larger body of water, such as the sea or ocean. There are no restriction as to the size a pond can be; it really depends upon space availability. The pond or still body of water in a garden originates from China, where it is thought to represent feminine elements in the natural world, or the “yin” of yin-yang. Adding koi to the pond may presents a dramatic natural feel to wataer garden.

    The spiritual pond or body of water, or kami-ike (divine ponds), represents the Japanese Shinto spiritual belief that the pond in Japanese gardens are sacred. It has been a special place of prayer and meditation. As mentioned in KotoJazz 9: Islands of Japanese Gardens, the scene of ocean and sea occupying the majority of the garden space (“chisen”) originates from China. Groups of rocks on one or more sides of the body of water in the garden may represent the image of a seashore and/or mountains. If an island or stone island is placed in the pond, it represents a special divine place from where the kami came hahaguni (妣国).

    The pond is the centerpiece of numerous other Japanese garden features, including the following:]

  • Koto Jazz 24: Waterfalls/
  • Koto Jazz 40: Stream Gardens
  • KotoJazz 9: Islands of Japanese Gardens
  • Koto Jazz 18: Japanese Garden Bridges
  • Koto Jazz 7: Water, Water Everywhere
  • KotoJazz 44: “A New Dialogue with Nature”

    My apologies in advance for this “detour” from art and the nature of gardening and koto jazz music. This “KotoJazz 44” blog entry is about the revolutionary nature of Nobel prize winning physicist Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers’ and “Man’s Dialogue with Nature” in their international bestseller, “Order Out of Chaos”. Though published a while ago in the 80s, it could not be more relevant than today, including the topics of this blog. As Alvin Toffler puts it in the book’s preface, “it is the processes associated with randomness, openness that lead to higher levels of organization.” In all structures associated with life and life forms, even social life, before change occurs, it is forced toward a non-equilibrium state and approaches a critical moment or bifurcation point where it transforms/ morphs into a “new path of development” that is not predeterminable.

    This is also very true of creativity in music and art. It sums up modern music and art in so many ways, including modern jazz and especially koto jazz. Koto jazz may have some predetermined melody and style, but its origins are rooted in the very musical expression of nature. Out of the “randomness, openness” of nature, and our open, often random exploration of music and sound, we can connect with the core of our own Nature. This is the ultimate goal of Koto jazz music. For me, patterns of nature unpredictably and indeterminably morph into new patterns, at times interrupted by chaotic resonance, then transforming into a new efflorescent chime or melodic sequence. We are the heirs of this new perspective on art, science, and life.

    Prigogine and Stengers’ views reach into all areas of our social, political and business life. Take the management theories of John Morgridge, the former chairman of Cisco Systems, as an example. Probably a key period of my professional life was having a sit down dinner/ interview with Morgridge back in the mid-90s. A key point to this article I wrote about him was about the randomness and openness of putting together project managers, engineers, creative designers, and others (without titles) needed to complete a business project. Over time, the open organization evolves and forms its own natural organization where at times the engineer or the designer leads the group rather than the business manager.

    The way Morgridge described it in the interview is reminiscent of the brilliant book written by UC Berkeley professor Ori Braufman and Rod A. Beckstrom, “The Starfish and The Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations”, and Braufman’s more recent book (2013), “The Chaos Imperative: How Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success”. You cut a starfish in half, it can grow into two starfish. Prigogine and Stengers also “undermine conventional views of thermodynamics by showing that, under non-equilibrium conditions, at least, entropy may produce, rather than degrade, order, organization”– and therefore life itself. This is true of business, society, nature, music and art, with music and art leading the way. It is one of many reasons why we must support the arts– it is the very fabric that shapes who we are. Koto jazz tunes can offer the mind and spirit not just an escape but a solution, an order out of the natural chaos that precedes it.

    Koto Jazz 43: The Moon Gate

    As mentioned in my last blog, Kotojazz 42: Shapes in Design & Music, I visited a number of Chinese gardens which featured rounded garden entry gates outside of Shanghai and Shenzhen.

    These pedestrian passage ways, often entry gates to the garden, are known as Moon Gates. There are a number of spiritual meanings behind each part of the Moon Gate, such as the symbolic image of the moon in Chinese culture. Just as the moon rises out of the sky, the Moon Gate rises out of the earth. The harmonious shape of the moon creates an inviting spiritual, Zen-like feel to your garden entrance.

    Historically, the Moon Gate had been relegated to the gardens of the wealthy, as an entry to a special place. The circle is a symbol of perfection in Chinese culture. The Moon Festival celebrates the moon at its fullest and brightest illumination. Today, the Moon Gate is available to everyone. 🙂

    Songs about the Moon and the shape of the full moon:

  • Circle, Sea Gull album
  • Circle of Friendship, by Joanne Shenandoah with Peter Kater; Life Blood album
  • The Circle of Life, The Best of New Age Piano
  • Share The Moon, Off The Record Instrumentals
  • The Circle, Circle album
  • Blue Moon– Rogers & Hart, The Smooth Jazz Instrumental Band
  • Sunday’s Moon, Theme song to movie “Coma”
  • Alternative Instrumental:

  • Red Moon, by Steve Jones Band
  • Moon X