It was a gorgeous sunny day in the mid-60s in Cannon Beach, Oregon with no sign of the namesake of this inpiring annual arts festival. I featured my new CD, Digital Escapism, this Saturday, November 02, 11am – 1pm, at the local the popular Ecola Square; and at south Seattle’s Pho Hanoi Restaurant and Bar on Saturday, November 09, 2019.
I played a number of original titles, including:
- Dance of the Fireflies
- Lakeridge Springs
- Digital Amputation
- Escape from the Blues
Live video from the last piano performances in Cannon Beach and at Pho Hanoi Restaurant in South Seattle are being edited and will be posted to kotojazz.com by end of November.
30th Anniversary Stormy Weather Arts Festival, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Another peaceful relaxing weekend of solitude and piano playing in Cannon Beach Oregon, highlighted by lively guests at the Jeffrey Hull Gallery, Sandpiper Square in Cannon Beach. Nature inspired melodies always go over well at art galleries, such as this reception November 4. These include my original works Snow Blossoms, Seascape, Tide Pools and Waves, Windy Wheat Fields, and Snow Flurry.
Check out Jeffrey Hull’s stunning paintings of pink sunsets, and blankets of snow over Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock.
Then, last Sunday November 25 I played these same songs at Grumpy D’s Coffee House in Ballard.
Thanks to those who joined me at these events.
Is this the event where I “arrived”? It felt half way there, and then ended struggling with restraint, getting too excited, to a pretty full audience at the Seattle Center’s Center House Theater. So frustrating , not enough time to practice to smooth out the edges. It’s a wide open and deep venue, so I sense the needed to “project” my music. The first 4 songs I played seemed well received.
Live recording at Northwest Folklife, Seattle Center, on SoundCloud, https://soundcloud.com/northwestfolklifefestival/koto-jazz
The good news is my music has again been accepted to air on the local classical radio station KING FM 98.1’s Second Inversion program. More details are forthcoming, including links to the program.
Inspiring art everywhere was enough to help me push through a rather long two hour at times choppy, and sometimes humbling performance. In the end, it was good enough, and sometimes that just has to do.
Thanks to Paul Deuber, Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Cannon Beach Gallery Group for debuting their first year of music along with artistic works featured by over 20 art galleries in this small town rated by National Geographic as one of the top 20 beach resorts in the nation.
I introduced three new songs recently written in the spring of 2018 and played for the first time in public, and here are excerpts of these songs listed as the first three songs on the following web page:
3) Getting away from the Blues
I’d love your feedback.
Enjoy the unveiling of spring in all is manifestations.
Playing at Grumpy D’s Coffee House in Ballard, where I lived in my 20s, is like coming home. The Cannon Beach Unveiling Arts Festival is coming up Saturday, May 05 where I play at Ecola Square, 1:45-3:45pm, Mill Creek Newsroom with Mark Goldberg and Koto Jazz May 19, 7-9pm, and then the Northwest Folklife Festival on May 27 at the Seattle Center’s CenterHouse Theater.
The NW Folklife schedule is here: https://2018northwestfolklifefestival.sched.com/event/EfnM/koto-jazz
Here are a few samples from that gig on April 06:
Tori No Yo Ni (“Like a Bird”), Live @ Grumpy D’s Coffeehouse, Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, Washington performed April 06, 2018:
Wellspring, Live @ Grumpy D’s Coffeehouse, Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, Washington performed April 06, 2018:
Every song has a story. Remember the end of season snow storm we had (south Seattle) in May 2017? I played this song, Snow Flurry, for the first time on that day.
Below is a full song list for the live piano gig on at Saturday, December 16, 2017 below. The feature song of the night is the following video of “Snow Flurry”:
- Tide Pools & Waves
- Tori no Yo Ni (Like a Bird)
- Mount Index Ice Caves
- Snow Flurry
- Kojo no Tsuki (Moon Over Ruined Castle)
- Snow Blossoms
Beautiful water color and oil paintings, by Jeffrey Hull Gallery, Cannon Beach, OR. Visit the gallery at 172 N. Hemlock St., downtown Cannon Beach, and join me for some KotoJazz at 5pm, Friday, November 3rd. Visit http://www.hullgallery.com/the-30th-annual-stormy-weather-arts-festival/
Come join me at what promises to be an enjoyable event that offers you a visual introduction to all things Japanese. This includes a colorful fashion show to original Japanese performance by famous Kokyu performer Daikuke Kiba and my own variations on 1,000 year old Japanese koto music played on the keyboard. These include Haru no Umi, Tori no Yo Ni, and Kojo no Tsuki. I will also play my originals including recent art show selections Windy Wheat Fields and Snow Blossoms, and hyper fast Snow Flurry.
Sample previews are available here: https://kotojazz.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/sanger-de-christo-arts-center-represents-the-west-with-classy-exhibit/
Another stroke of luck. In January – March 2017 two of my original Kotojazz tunes are recognized as “Representing the West” at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center annual exhibit. These are pure new age Americana folk songs. “Snow Blossoms” was inspired by the blue violets peeking through melting snow on a sunny winter day along Boulder Creek trail in Boulder, Colorado. “Windy Kansas Wheat Fields” was inspired by strong wind blowing over fields of grass and wheat creating a steady undulating flow like ocean waves. You can see the wind blowing through wheat fields in eastern Colorado and Kansas. Both feed our souls, in their simplicity and stillness (snow blossoms) and their awesome enduring power (windy Kansas wheat fields).
I am reminded that the “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it; you know neither from where it comes nor to where it goes, and so it is with the Spirit.”
Previews of these songs are available here:
David Wilborn likes to jazz it up with some upbeat, almost ragtime rhythmic tunes. His music is mostly improvisation and this is one of those. As a gifted creator of sound into melodic rhythm, it’s been a pleasure and privilege to have Dave as a friend for over 20 years, and as a music partner for the past year.
Sometime the smaller venues are more fun and interactive and relaxing for us both, and we find that C&P Coffee Company which hosts music performers like us every week, is just such the place to make you feel at home. It is located right on the main drag in West Seattle at 5621 California Street, just south of the West Seattle “Junction”. Stop by sometime and you just might find us rockin’ up this classic coffee house, or someone else like us. The coffee and service there is fabolicious!
This new CD mostly live production was crazy, experimental fun – anchored by a few George Winston covers, a touch of Narada/ Silver Wave- style new age, a koto jazz tune, and some “off the beaten path”, eclectic wacko improvisations . . . and you have a metamorphosis of the senses –
From the Sounds from the Coast CD, “Whales Breaching“ is a celebration of life, sharing the seas with our ocean friends, and a hope that we will never take them for granted. Let’s support their rights as our own.
Here is a live recording of a tune I first played at Stone Way Café’s Fremont Art Walk on April 1st, then recorded live at The Royal Room on April 13th with Koto Jazz accompaniment by Patrick Wilson on the SyntHorn –
🎶 “Breach”, by Chris Kenji & Patrick Wilson.
Koto Jazz on soundclick.com
Join me and Koto Jazz partners next week in Pioneer Square and Northwest Folklife –
April 29th, 7-8:30PM, Saturday, Koto Jazz @ FREDERICK HOLMES AND COMPANY Art Gallery, 309 Occidental Ave., Occidental Mall, Pioneer Square, dowtown Seattle; #206-682-0166.
May 27, 4:30- 5:10 PM, Friday, 2016 NORTHWEST FOLKLIFE;“Koto Jazz – Sounds On the Coast” by Chris Kenji, Center Theater, Seattle Center, Seattle WA. No cover
Take a mid-week break next Wednesday and relax by stopping by The Royal Room at 7:00-9:30pm, April 13th as Patrick Wilson and I demo our experimental session of Koto Jazz with bossa nova rhythm and beat on the Steinway and Patrick’s invention, the SyntHorn. We’re attempting to further refine it to make it truly stage worthy in preparation for Northwest Folklife opening day. We perform for Northwest Folklife on Friday, May 27 at 4:30pm-5:10pm. The Koto Jazz will be stage worthy with bossa nova fusion. The Royal Room is located in south Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood at 5000 Rainier Ave South, Seattle. See http://theroyalroomseattle.com for quality dining and drinks. This will be part of a donation of $100 I plan to give to the Royal Room and Wayne Horvitz toward piano repairs!!
For the off beat eclectic innovator, the SyntHorn is an amazing, fun and crazy instrument. One of my neighbors and friends Patrick Wilson in Seattle created a digital instrument he calls The SyntHorn (short for synthesizer horn). The horn itself produces an unique, distant echoing cavernous sound effect. The SyntHorn includes the horn, a mini- digital keyboard, Oscillator, Chaoscillator, Monotron delay unit, two Internal Horn speakers, and one external speaker. Since the the features and function completely run on rechargeable batteries, it can played anywhere at any time. A carrying strap fits over the shoulder. All this resides in one unit.
Here is a sampling of Patrick live on the SyntHorn –
Join me in my next performances at C&P Coffee, Columbia City’s Royal Room, and Stone Way Café to hear our progressive electronic jazz. Patrick, a former DJ at a local college radio station, will join me in jazzing up my koto jazz tunes and offer up a few of his own originals with my accompaniment on the keyboard.
It makes sounds and rhythms you’ve never heard before.
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