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July 22: Come to Buena Park, CA and buy direct!

by Hajime 10. July 2007 22:42

An announcement for those who live in Southern California:

On Saturday, July 22, I'll bring my entire inventory to the monthly meeting of the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society, held at Holiday Inn, Buena Park. I'll bring all the CDs that I have at hand but haven't had the time to upload to the website.

For fans of classical music, I'll bring a special batch of great-sounding XRCDs as well. If you live in the area, don't miss this opportunity to buy direct and save on shipping costs!

I'll accept cash and personal checks only. Sorry, no credit cards. For more info on the meeting, go to the website of the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society.

See you on the 22nd!

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Introducing BluePort Jazz

by Hajime 4. July 2007 15:18

I hope you are all enjoying the summer. And for those who live in the United States, happy 4th of July!

Today I'd like to introduce a wonderful independent jazz label, BluePort Jazz. I sell CDs and SACDs from Japan in my store, and BluePort is the second "exception" to this rule after the Straight Ahead Records. BluePort is truly exceptional because it was founded by my friend, prolific writer, educator, audio guru and recording engineer Jim Merod.

Typically, Jim records "live" on location and mixes everything "live to 2-track" in a high resolution digital format (24-bit, 96kHz). Top-notch equipment is used in the mastering, and his partner Steve McCormack -- yes, of The Mod Squad and McCormack Audio fame -- lends his hands and ears. The result for the listener is an honest and vivid facsimile of a live event that may contain some flaws -- in Jim's words "warts and all" -- but is invariably exciting and often stunning.

You may not be familiar with all the musicians in the BluePort catalog, but they are well-known local heroes to jazz fans on the West Coast. I am very proud to provide another outlet for this wonderful little label whose CDs are sometimes hard to find. Check out the introductory nine titles below and if you like what you hear, by all means order away!


Various Artists / BluePort Jazz Sampler

This is a great place to start if you want to get to know BluePort. This sampler contains nine cuts selected from eight albums and a couple of unreleased materials.


Allen Smith Quartet / Cornucopia

A veteran trumpeter well-known in San Francisco made his debut album as a leader in 1998. Warm, sophisticated and swinging!


Steve Situm / Live at the Plush Room

A moving comeback stage of a San Francisco singer who after 25 years recovered from a damaged vocal cords.


Chris Colangelo / 2 Trios + 1 Live!

A stunning maestro's powerful and resonant bass sound is perfectly captured in this swinging set. One of my personal favorites!


Dale Fielder Quartet / Romance Serenade

Active in the San Diego area, Fielder wields different saxophones effectively and shows his compositional skills in this alternately romantic and swinging outing.


Jaime Valle / Vital Signs

After an open heart surgery, the San Diegan guitarist came back with a vengeance! Joyful and exuberant, this Latin jazz album will surely light up your day!


Carl Saunders Sextet / Live in San Francisco

The brilliant LA trumpeter descended on the famed Union Square on a windy day, and performed a lyrical and impressive set filled with well-arranged, well-executed gems. One of my personal favorites!


Noel Jewkes Quartet / If and When the Stars...

Another great musician from San Francisco, Jewkes hits all the right notes on fast, swinging numbers and gives exemplary ballad performances. His "Body and Soul" is amazing!


John Hicks Trio / Sunshower

The consummate pianist, who passed away in 2006, left this beautiful and romantic album with his West Coast trio. Careful listeners will be rewarded with his understated, quietly brilliant pianism.

Coming soon...
- Latest Venus CDs featuring Ken Peplowski, Scott Hamilton, David Hazeltine, Steve Kuhn, Stefano Bollani and Giovanni Guidi!
- A new release from Straight Ahead Records: Niel Larsen's "Orbit" featuring Roben Ford! Audiophile "Emerald" CD

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New arrivals: Helen Merrill featuring Stan Getz, Enrico Pieranunzi Trio

by Hajime 23. June 2007 14:29

Dear Friends and Customers,

I hope you are all enjoying the beginning of summer and having a wonderful weekend. This week I'd like to draw your attention to three great additions to the catalog of Eastwind Import. As usual, they are all my personal favorites. If you are interested, please click the links below for details and sample audio files.


Helen Merrill featuring Stan Getz / Just Friends

I'm a big fan of Helen Merrill and HUGE admirer of Stan Getz, so you can probably imagine how excited I was when this CD came out in 1991. This is a meeting of two great voices in jazz: two voices so distinct that they are instantly recognizable; two voices that took a lifetime to achieve and perfect.<br><br>


Enrico Pieranunzi Trio / The Night Gone By


Enrico Pieranunzi Trio / The Chant of Time

Among the numerous European pianists who are influenced and inspired by Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, the Italian Enrico Pieranunzi is a cut above in terms of virtuosity and creativity. In these two albums recorded in 1996 and 1997, respectively, the American rhythm section anchored by bassist Marc Johnson and propelled by either Paul Motian or Joey Baron provides dynamic, organic and swinging support and pushes Pieranunzi to new heights.

Coming Soon...
Wonderful yet hard-to-find CDs from BluePort Jazz, produced and engineered by my friend, audio guru, prolific writer and professor, Dr. Jim Merod!

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Notable Japanese artists: Naoko Terai, Sadao Watanabe, Makoto Ozone and Chihiro Yamanaka!

by Hajime 19. June 2007 00:42

This week I'd like to draw your attention to four notable Japanese jazz musicians whose CDs I've just uploaded to Eastwind Import website. As usual, you can click the links below for more details and sample audio files.

Naoko Terai / Thinking of You
Naoko Terai / Live
How many jazz violinists do you know? Chances are, you can count them with one hand -- great ones, anyway. Now I think you should put the beautiful Naoko Terai on that list. She doesn't sound like any other jazz violinists, because instead of listening to Stephane Grappelli and Ray Nance, she would listen to Charlie Parker, Bill Evans and Miles Davis in her formative years and thought, "How can I play violin like that?" I have two of her CDs: the debut album Thinking of You [Rec.1998] and an exciting Live album with Lee Ritenour and other top LA musicians [Rec. 2000].

Sadao Watanabe / My Dear Life - 50th Anniversary Collection
Arguably the most well-known and beloved Japanese jazz/fusion musician in the world, alto saxophonist Sadao Watanabe celebrated his 50th year as a professional jazz musician in 2001, and released this very special 2-CD compilation of his best recorded tracks across many different labels. If you are a fan of Sadao, you've got to own these very special CDs. If you don't know him yet, this is a great place to start. [Rec. 1978-2001]

Makoto Ozone Trio / First Decade
Here's another special compilation celebrating an important milestone of an important artist. Ozone (pronounced as "oh-zoh-nay") is a piano virtuoso and a wonderful composer/arranger (he graduated the Berklee School of Music's composition department with top honors) who led the same trio for 10 years! This compilation represents the best of "The Trio" with James Genus on bass and Clarence Penn on drums. Guest musicians include the late Michael Brecker and Branford Marsalis. [Rec. 2000-2006]

Chihiro Yamanaka / Lach Doch Mal
Fiercely creative, New York-based pianist and composer, Chihiro Yamanaka is very popular in Japan, and all her CDs have climbed to the top of jazz charts without fail. She made this particularly strong trio album, the title of which means "Just Laugh" in German, with a superb rhythm section: Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard (of the Brad Mehldau Trio). This is an exciting, cutting-edge piano trio album. [Rec. 2006]

Coming soon…
Helen Merrill & Stan Getz / Just Friends
Enrico Pieranunzi Trio / The Night Gone By
Enrico Pieranunzi Trio / The Chant of Time

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14 Reissue CDs from Japan!

by Hajime 13. June 2007 19:19

I've always been fascinated by the fact that Japan has such a deep market for jazz reissue CD. When I go to a Japanese CD store -- by the way, Tower Record is still alive and well in Japan, thanks to the management buyout a few years ago which separated the Japanese entity from the American corporation that went under -- I can always find reissue CDs of great albums from the golden age of jazz that somehow are absent in the US market.

Examples can already be found in the catalog of Eastwind Import, such as the great Anita O'Day Verve collection and albums by underrated singers like Beverly Kenney and Sue Raney.

Now, I was busy last week uploading 14 of these reissue CDs. They are all great, high quality albums that deserve attention of serious jazz fans and collectors. If you are a member of the CD generation, you might be hearing them for the first time. If you belong to the vinyl generation you might own them as LPs but not in the convenient CD format.

In either case, I believe you'll get tremendous enjoyment out of these CDs that I picked personally based on the (un)availability in the US market and artistic value. If you are interested, please click the links below for album details and sample audio files. In addition to wonderful new recordings coming out of Japan, I'll continue to bring these equally valuable classic gems to Eastwind Import so that they are more easily accessible to jazz fans around the world!

Clifford Jordan / In the World
First time ever on CD! An emotionally powerful, self-produced album by the tenor titan with Don Cherry, Kenny Dorham, Wynton Kelly, Wilber Ware, Richard Davis and Roy Haynes! [Rec. 1969]

Toshiko Akiyoshi / The Many Sides of Toshiko
The first Japanese jazz musician ever to study at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Akiyoshi recorded this early trio album for Norman Granz with Gene Cherico and Jake Hanna. [Rec. 1957]

Ray Bryant Plays
One of my favorite pianists plays a jazz composer's songbook with his soulful, funky flavor. [Rec. 1959]

Jim Hall / Jazz Guitar
The first leader album by the constantly evolving guitarist shows his straight ahead, swinging jazz roots. [Rec. 1957]

Sonny Criss / Jazz-U.S.A.
The one-and-only alto player brings his emotion and intensity to the hard bop session with Kenny Drew and Barney Kessel. [Rec. 1956]

Bud Shank Quartets
A quintessential West Coast jazz album with Shorty Rogers and Bill Perkins. Sidemen include Jimmy Rowles, Hampton Hawes, Red Mitchel and Mel Lewis. [Rec. 1954]

Sonny Stitt / Plays Arrangements from the Pen of Quincy Jones
The brilliant and confident alto player shines in front of an all-star big band led by one of the most talented arrangers of the time. [Rec. 1955]

Milt Jackson / Bags' Opus
Milt Jackson, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Tommy Flanagan, Paul Chambers, Connie Kay. Enough said. [Rec. 1958]

Chico Hamilton Quitet in Hi-Fi
One of the experimental but fresh and effective "chamber jazz" albums by the original Chico Hamilton Quintet with Buddy Collette and Jim Hall. [Rec. 1955-56]

Sonny Stitt Plays
One of Stitt's definitive works features the wonderful trio of Hank Jones, Wendell Marshall, Shadow Wilson. Guitarist Freddie Green joins on four tunes. [Rec. 1956]

Zoot Sims & Al Cohn / Jazz Alive! A Night at the Half Note
A hot live album by the great two-tenor team. Phil Woods joins them in two tunes to make it even hotter! [Rec. 1959]

Sonny Stitt with the New Yorkers
Another great one-horn album by Stitt with the same Hank Jones Trio, this time without Freddie Green. [Rec. 1957]

Sonny Criss Plays Cole Porter
A strong Porter soongbook by the bluesy alto player. Features Larry Bunker on vibraphone and Sonny Clark on piano. [Rec. 1956]

Kenny Drew Quartet / Talkin' and Walkin'
The amazing East Coast bop pianist recorded this great album during his West Coast days. Listen to the sublime "walkin'" by the master bassist Leroy Vinnegar! [Rec. 1955]

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Six great piano trio CDs from Atelier Sawano!

by Hajime 2. June 2007 00:42

Another week has passed, and I've been working hard to upload the six recent arrivals: a collection of great piano trio albums from Atelier Sawano! Click the links below to check out the details and listen to sample sound files! They are ALL highly recommended!


Tonu Naissoo Trio / You Stepped out of a Dream

Estonia may not be the most obvious place to look for a great jazz pianist, but Atelier Sawano found a truly exceptional one in that Baltic state! This also happens to be one of the greatest-sounding piano trio CDs ever, and I'm not the only one who thinks so: It won the Jazz Critique Magazine's 2006 Best Sounding Jazz Disc Award! A pure delight for both music fans and audiophiles! [Rec. 2005]


Tonu Naissoo Trio / With a Song in My Heart

After listening to You Stepped out of the Dream, I had to check out this earlier work of Tonu Naissoo, and found it just as satisfying. Another great sounding CD, and this one features five Richard Rodgers' songs! [Rec. 2003]


Robert Lakatos Trio / So In Love

Another "find" by Atelier Sawano hails from Hungary. Classically trained and full of modern sensibilities, Robert Lakatos also knows how to swing and burns with intensity. A strong debut album with richly textured, organic sound. [Rec. 2004]


Robert Lakatos Trio / Never Let Me Go

The Hungarian's brand new album for Sawano finds him in a more reflective mode. Recorded in Zurich, this is another sonic triumph for Atelier Sawano, even by its lofty standards. Definately a contender for the Best Sounding Jazz Disc Award for 2007! [Rec. 2006]


Joe Chindamo / Anyone Who Had a Heart

Another piano gem from Australia! Those of you who have heard Joe Chindamo's Paul Simon tribute America! (AS-047) know that he is a wonderful pianist with a modern perspective and tremendous arrangement skills. In this older album, Chindamo did an entire album dedicated to the music of Burt Bacharach! [Rec. 1996]


Rene Urtreger / Trio Live

A veteran French pianist who toured with Lester Young and recorded with Miles Davis (Ascenseur pour L'echafaud) is very much alive and kicking in this energetic live album. A hard-core bebop musician who was immensely influenced by Bud Powell and Charlie Parker, Urtreger definately did not get "mellow" with age! [Rec. 2005]

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New Arrival: Suzuki Yoshio Trio / For You

by Hajime 27. May 2007 13:38


Yoshio Suzuki Trio featuring Tadataka Unno / For You

Suzuki Yoshio, affectionately called "Chin-san" by his fans and friends, is a veteran bassist who was the REGULAR member of the Stan Getz Group and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the 1970s. Chin-san teamed up a superbly talented young pianist, Tadataka Unno, and made a wonderfully swinging and great-sounding CD for a new label he co-founded with 55 Records' producer Hiroshi Itsuno and others. Straight-ahead piano trio jazz does not get much better than this!

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"Jazz In Denmark" DVD from Marshmallow Records!

by Hajime 23. May 2007 19:08

Jazz In Denmark [DVD-Video]


Moving images of Bud Powell!
His previously unreleased trio recording with Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass!


We are very excited to have in stock the very rare, limited edition DVD released by Marshmallow Records. Jazz In Denmark contains three short films made in the 1960s in Copenhagen, Denmark. Commercially available for the first time, only 999 copies are made for the entire world. Don't miss this opportunity to own a part of jazz history, the films that captured the vibrant jazz scene in the 1960s.

Three films contained in the DVD are:
STOPFORBUD / BUD POWELL (1962)
FUTURE ONE / NEW YORK CONTEMPORARY FIVE (1962)
PORTRAIT OF A BUSHMAN / DOLLAR BRAND

Go to Eastwind Import for details.

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Nine new arrivals from Venus Records

by Hajime 16. May 2007 12:45

After a week of vacation, Eastwind Import is back on business! And we have nine additional CDs from Venus Records, both new and old, available at our website! Click links below for details and sample audio file.


Richie Beirach Trio / Manhattan Reverie

Known for his heady attempts to fuse jazz and classical music, pianist Richie Beirach exploded with sheer joy of playing passionate, straight-ahead jazz. A stunning piano trio album with great sound! [Rec. 2006]


Richie Beirach Trio / Romantic Rhapsody

An earlier work by the same trio, with a focus on the lyrical and contemplative side of the talented pianist. [Rec. 2000]


Stefano Bollani Trio / Volare
With his ECM release "Piano Solo" making a splash in the US, it is worth taking a look at the earlier works of this young, supremely talented Italian pianist. His debut CD from Venus, a passionate collection of Italian songs, stunned the Japanese audience when it came out in 2002. [Rec. 2002]


Stefano Bollani Trio / Black and Tan Fantasy

Bollani's second album from Venus was actually recorded at the same two-day session that produced "Volare." On this album Bollani demonstrates his arrangement skills and fresh interpretations of American jazz standards. [Rec. 2002]


Chano Dominguez / Con Alma
Talented Spanish pianist Chano Dominguez shows his straight-ahead jazz chops in this collection of Latin tunes and jazz standards. Drummer Jeff Ballard (Brad Mehldau) adds significant flair to the proceedings with his amazing technique. [Rec. 2003]


Charles McPherson Quartet / But Beautiful

Veteran alto sax player Charles McPherson, paired with Venus regular and wonderful pianist Steve Kuhn, demonstrates that he is at the top of his game with distinctive tone and brilliant bebop-tinged playing. [Rec. 2003]


Phil Woods with Strings / The Thrill Is Gone

A charming, tender, and good-sounding "with strings" album by the Phil Woods Quartet featuring Bill Charlap on piano and nicely augmented by a string quintet. [Rec. 2002]


Archie Shepp / True Blue

Known as a "free jazz" warrior in the 1960s and 1970s, Archie Shepp surprised Japanese jazz fans in the late 1990s with a series of (relatively) straight-ahead, ballad albums released by Venus. This CD is the third in the series. [Rec. 1998]


Archie Shepp / Deja Vu

After the three-part series, Shepp returned with a particularly strong collection of French songs and tunes associated with France, which earned him the prestigious Swing Journal Jazz Disc Silver Award for 2001. [Rec. 2001]

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Shipping rate changes for international customers

by Hajime 16. May 2007 12:41
An announcement for our international customers
 
On May 14, the US Postal Service has raised its international rates and introduced new size restrictions. Since the cost increase is more than we can absorb, we had no choice, unfortunately, but to increase our shipping charges. Effective immediately on May 14, 2007, the new international shipping charge is US$8.00 for the first CD, and US$1.50 for each additional CD.

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