The jazzy funk fusion style music of Eugene Yamamoto represents Jazz Koto music very well. He successfully preserves an Asian international sound or melody while including western rhythm, jazz and funk music styles.
You can listen to samples of Eugene’s music at Jazz Koto of Eugene Yamamoto, by Accardi/Gold and Union Label Music / Cloister Recordings.
His music is a frivolously fun style, even using the traditional Koto instrument in a new and unique way with adventurous, rhythmic plucking. He does this with a steady western style beat, which differentiates it from Koto Jazz tunes and traditional Japanese koto music. The rhythm and beat is definitively western, while some songs are interwoven with Asian and Japanese style melodies and chordal structures. These distinctions can be heard clearly as you listen to “Walk in the Garden” and “Samurai Dream Vacation“.
In “Saki Train” and “Martian Tea House” it seems he uses the Japanese koto instrument and sound with a funky, electronica sound.
Kudos to Eugene for his take on Jazz Koto and definitely worth a listen.