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Okinawa Jazz Association Concert


The Okinawa Jazz Association (OJA) has produced their very first recording in the 51 year history of the Organization.

Since 1957, live jazz has been performed by the OJA on the island, but it has gone virtually unnoticed by the masses as of late. The OJA is about to change all of that with a commemorative concert to honor the history of the organization and to herald the release of the first ever recording of the Big Band Orchestra... shining a new light on the uniquely Okinawan form of Jazz that has formed here since the ending of the World War II era. Many foreigners have heard that there was live jazz being played here on Okinawa, but it can often be as elusive as chasing echoes to find out where it is going to be played and when you need to be there. Believe it or not, Jazz music has really been played in Japan since long before World War II when Japanese musicians traveled with Americans on transpacific cruises to the orient. They learned to play the music and brought it back home. It was not until WWII erupted that the music was temporarily outlawed as the music of the enemy. After the war ended, the music was played again and served as a bridge between the men and women of the U.S. and Japan, trying to find peace and common ground with one another in the aftermath of a terrible war. When you know that, you know that Jazz music has a much longer history in Japan than most people would have thought. In fact, you will often hear Japanese musicians and music aficionados proudly refer to the music as "Japanese Jazz" when it is played by their countrymen.

The Okinawa Jazz Kyoukai (pronounced, kee-yo-kai, roughly meaning "association.") is keeping a valuable piece of history alive through music, which not only opens a window to the tumultuous past, but also a door to the future. This is because many of the songs that they play are original arrangements of traditional Okinawan and Japanese melodies set to new Big Band Jazz arrangements. Some of these compositions are even written by members of the orchestra themselves, and performed live at local venues. In fact, all of the tunes on the all new "Uchina Jazz" album are actually based on Okinawan music. This orchestra truly reflects the profound effects of cultural blending which has, and continues to occur here on Okinawa and throughout Japan and the world in general. As the world becomes smaller due to advances in information technologies and transportation, we all benefit from the new relationships, ideas, and art, among many of the other positive things, which result.

There are a few "gaijin" living locally who have experienced and contributed to some of this cross-cultural expansion. In the OJA Band, there are two, one of whom is Saxophonist Troy Black. Mr. Black, a former U.S. service member, fell in love with Okinawa after being stationed here and remained at the end of his military service. He has been playing with the orchestra for more than 2 years now and was fortunate enough to be invited to perform on this historic recording. If you ask him about the band, watch out, because his eyes will light up and he will do everything short of grabbing your arm and dragging you to hear them play. When asked, he said, " I hope that as many people as possible, Japanese as well as foreigners, find out about the CD and show up at the December 11th concert as possible.”

No matter what anyone thinks, if you even think that you might enjoy a change of pace and would enjoy a live jazz concert, then you should think about attending this event. The upcoming concert will be one place that you want to be if you love the sounds of live horns and other instruments, and Okijazz is making it easy for you to know exactly where to be and when to be there to experience it.



Uchina Jazz Cd CoverUchina Jazz!

The Okinawa Jazz Association's first Jazz CD is on sale now in stores Japan-wide, and internationally on the World Wide Web!! Purchase your copy of this historic recording at local stores or online now!







Listen to a sample of this cd now!




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From the music of an occupied territory to Okinawan Original Jazz.

The Okinawa Jazz Kyoukai (pronounced, <kee-yo-kai> roughly meaning “Association”), was organized in 1957. This year, the OJA recorded their first album, “Uchina Jazz,” in the 51 years of their history. After WWII, The U.S. military, which governed Okinawa, held many entertainment events on and off the military bases. Jazz concerts were among them and some famous musicians like Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, and Lionel Hampton visited Okinawa. Also, they invited many Jazz musicians from the Philippines and held concerts. Many Students and musicians who played in brass bands at that time were gradually fascinated with Jazz and they too became musicians.

In 1957, OJA (Okinawa Musician Association at that time) had 400 members and 7 big bands with 16 members. For this album, about 40 players include an over 75 year old Jazz Man who started his career on base right after WWII, and young players who got together at the music hall in Koza and recorded the music all at one time in October of 2008. Recording with this many Jazz players was never done in Okinawa before and all songs are based on Okinawan music. You will enjoy the powerful sounds of the Big Band and the soothing sound of the combo.


Show information:


Thursday, December 11, 2008


Ryubo Building

Palette Citizen's Theatre

(AKA Pallette Kumoji)


Google map:

View Larger Map


Doors open:
6:30 pm (18:30)

Start time:
7:00 pm (19:00)

Open Seating


Tickets: (yen only)

¥3,000 in advance.

¥3,500 at the door.

¥1,800 (elementary and junior high
school students (with parents) at the door.

**Tickets may be purchased from:

  • Family Mart (ticket machine: Pcode: 305-024)
  • The Ryubo Building (Palette Kumoji) Playguide (8th Floor)
  • Ticket Pia
For questions or tickets, you may also contact Harvest Farms Reservations at 098-890-7555

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