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Three DualDiscs from Straight Ahead Records

by Hajime 27. April 2007 01:58
Up to now, Eastwind Import has been focused on Japanese import CDs, but we are making an exception for an exceptional audiophile label based in Hollywood, California: the Straight Ahead Records.

Straight Ahead was established in 2005 by the legendary mastering engineer Bernie Grundman and veteran producer Stewart Levine. Grundman and staff built their own recording studio within his already famous mastering studio, and using their vintage tube microphones and custom-made electronics, they record the performances of select jazz musicians "live to two track" with amazing clarity, detail and life-like realism.

Eastwind Import is proud to carry their first three DualDisc titles in our catalog. These DualDiscs contain CD audio on one side and 96 kHz/24 bit DVD audio on the flip side. The DVD-Audio side plays on a DVD-Audio player as well as on just about any regular DVD-Video player. The DVD-Audio side has smoother and more analog-like sound, although the CD side alone will impress the most critical audiophile.
Go to Eastwind Import now and check out these three titles! Also, look forward to a new release from this superb label.

Hugh Masekela / Almost Like Being in Jazz This premier release features Hugh Masekela on flugelhorn and his long-time friend Larry Willis on piano. In a simple quartet setting, Masekela demonstrates his lyrical and tender side with a selection of jazz ballads. This is true in all three titles, but the sound quality is astonishing.

Introducing Zane Musa
Zane Musa is a young alto saxophonist active in the Los Angeles jazz scene, with an aggressive tone and Coltrane-like intensity. Musa and his young cohorts breathe new life into well-known standards and jazz tunes composed by Coltrane, Monk, Nat Adderley and Clifford Brown among others. John

Heard & Co. / The Jazz Composer's Songbook
On this tribute to the second wave of Jazz composers from the 1950s like Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons, Sonny Rollins and Horace Silver, among others, Straight Ahead spotlights veteran bassist John Heard leading a group of outstanding musicians. The sound reminds me of the golden age of jazz recording by labels such as the Contemporary Records, only with higher fidelity and better resolution!



Store Closing Schedule

by Hajime 23. April 2007 14:00

Eastwind Import will be temporarily closed from noon on Monday, April 30 through noon on Tuesday, May 8. You will be able to browse the products and listen to sample files, but you will not be able to place an order during that time. If you are thinking about getting an album and want to receive it quickly, please place an order by April 29.



Website Updates

by Hajime 23. April 2007 13:56

To provide the best shopping experience to our customers, we are constantly trying to improve our website. First, to accommodate our growing catalog, we simplified the navigation bars on the left-hand side. The artists (leaders) are now organized alphabetically under five headings (A-E, F-J, etc.) based on their last names.

Second, we added a search window near the top left-hand corner under our logo. Now you can search our catalog for a particular artist/musician, album title or song.

Third, when you go to an Album Details page, you'll notice that the names of participating musicians and album tracks are hyperlinked (underlined). If you are interested in a particular musician and want to find out what other albums he/she performs in, simply click his/her name and you'll see the search result! Similarly, if you like a particular song and want to know what other albums contain that song, just click it.

I hope these functions serve you well. If you have any comments or suggestions on our website, please let us know.



Introducing Lisa Ono & Mitsuaki Kishi

by Hajime 23. April 2007 13:51

Eastwind Import is proud to introduce two contemporary Japanese artists:

Lisa Ono / Dream
Born and raised in Brazil, Lisa Ono has been spreading the gospel of the "bossa nova" to a whole new generation of Japanese audience with her unadorned but warm, soothing voice. In what is considered as one of her best albums, she teamed with Oscar Castro-Neves and gave the old American standard songs a superb "bossa nova" treatment. Great idea, wonderfully executed.

Mitsuaki Kishi / Swingin' Always

Kishi is a unique Japanese pianist whose style can be called "contemporary swing" or "contemporary traditional jazz." For his eighth album he went to New York and recorded with the best like-minded musicians Harry Allen, Howard Alden and Warren Vache. There is nothing old in this sunny, uplifting album!



Four new arrivals from Venus Records!

by Hajime 12. April 2007 00:02

Francesco Cafiso / New York Lullaby

The young, Italian alto sax phenom Francesco Cafiso has caused quite a stirr among our customers, and his Seven Steps to Heaven has become one of our top sellers. This equally stunning album takes us back two years to 2005, when Cafiso was only 16 years old! If you are a serious jazz fan, you simply can't ignore this rising star!

New York Trio / The Things We Did Last Summer [SACD]
A single layer SACD version of the stellar album by pianist Bill Charlap and his trio, imported by popular demand. The powerful "Hyper Magnum" sound of Venus gets a special DSD treatment and provides stunning sound quality for discriminating audiophiles. This disc will work ONLY on Super Audio Disc players. The redbook CD version is TKCV-35163.

One For All / The End of a Love Affair

The popular three-horn hard-bop band led by tenorman Eric Alexander has recorded many albums for Venus Records, and this is their first, recorded in 2001. This powerful, swinging album offers an attractive program of standards and originals.

One For All / No Problem

The second album by One For All for Venus Records is a tribute for Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. In addition to strong original compositions, the hard bop band of the 21st century picks up tunes composed by the Messengers alumni Bobby Timmons, Benny Golson, Cedar Walton and Curtis Fuller.

If you are interested, click the links above for more details and sample audio files at Eastwind Import.



Article on Eastwind Import on TONE Audio Online!

by Hajime 10. April 2007 17:58

TONE Audio Online Issue 9, now available for download, has a very nice mini-feature article on Eastwind Import, with an interview with me and Editor Jeff Dorgay’s review of four CDs in our catalog.

Please go to TONE Audio Online, download Issue 9 (a PDF file) and take a look at page 77. You’ll be able to learn some secrets of Eastwind Import and read a thorough review of CDs from Marshmallow and 55 Records. If you don't already know, TONE Audio is one of the premier online audio magazines. I encourage you to subscribe to it: It's a great magazine, and it's free!

Thank you, Jeff and TONE Audio Online, for the wonderful article!



New arrivals: Anita O'Day's 10 classic Verve reissue CDs from Japan!

by Hajime 10. April 2007 16:09

I've been a huge fan of Anita O'Day, a truly great jazz singer who passed away last November. To celebrate her legacy, in March 2007 Universal Japan reissued all 16 LP albums she recorded for the Clef/Norgran/Verve label between 1952 and 1962. This was considered by many as her golden years; the most productive period of her long career.

Curiously and unfortunately, many of her classic Verve albums are unavailable in the US in the CD format. To right this wrong, I decided to import 10 titles most of which are not readily available in the US and elsewhere. If you combine these 10 titles with more widely available ones, you should be able to complete a collection of all 16 albums she left for Verve.

All CDs are remastered with the latest, 1-bit DSD technology from the original analog master tapes, and original jacket designs including the English liner notes are faithfully reproduced in this Mini-LP (paper sleeve) limited edition. You've got to own these albums if you are a fan of Anita O'Day. And if you are a fan of jazz vocal in general, you owe it to yourself to check them out!

As always, you can click the links below to read the details of each album and listen to sample sound files.

Anita O'Day Sings Jazz
O'Day's first full-length LP album for Verve, consisting of three sessions recorded in 1952. Features Roy Eldridge on trumpet.

An Evening with Anita O'Day
O'Day's second LP for Verve, consisiting of three separate sessions recorded in Los Angeles in 1954 and 1955. Supporting musicians include Barney Kessell, John Poole, Jimmy Rowles, Tal Farlow, Leroy Vinnegar and Larry Bunker.

This Is Anita
Recorded in 1955, this is my personal favorite, and arguably the best record she ever made. O'Day is backed by a small combo plus strings arranged and conducted by the talented Buddy Bregman. The West Coast all-star rhythm section (Paul Smith, Barney Kessel, Joe Mondragon and Alvin Stoller) keeps the entire program swinging.

At Mister Kelly's
Backed by a tasteful piano trio, you can hear O'Day in top form in this intimate live recording. The performance was recorded in April 1958, just three months before her legendary live performance at the Newport Jazz Festival was captured in the movie <b><i>Jazz on a Summer's Day</b></i>.

Cool Heat
On this album O'Day is paired with Jimmy Giuffre, an important figure in the "cool" West Coast jazz movement. His arrangements are intelligent and imaginative. (Rec. 1959)

Anita O'Day and Billy May Swing Rodgers and Hart
One of the two superb albums O'Day made with great arranger Billy May. The operative word here is "swing." May's arrangements are ingenious and brilliant, and O'Day rides them like a skilled surfer. (Rec. 1960)

Waiter, Make Mine Blues
Russell Garcia provides a perfect setting for the talented singer, with a wonderful band with an all-star cast: Frank Rosolino, Bud Shank, Barney Kessell, Al McKibbon and Mel Lewis. In terms of sheer vocal performance, this album is one of her best. (Rec. 1960)

Trav'lin' Light
In this tribute album to Billie Holiday who passed away two years prior to the recording, O'Day salutes the legendary singer who had the most profound influence on her singing. Johnny Mandel's arrangements are subtle and brilliant at the same time. (Rec. 1961)

Time for Two with Cal Tjader
Cal Tjader provides an effective and delightful background for O'Day, with a clever mix of the West Coast "cool" jazz style and latin rhythms. O'Day obviously is having fun with the band and the joy is contagious. (Rec. 1962)

Anita O'Day and The Three Sounds
For what turned out to be her last album for Verve, O'Day was paired with the new, up-and-coming piano trio called The Three Sounds led by the funky pianist Gene Harris. (Rec. 1962)

Happy listening to you all!




New arrivals: Yoshiko Kishino, Beverly Kenney, Helen Merrill & Doug Watkins!

by Hajime 4. April 2007 13:42

I have been busy putting up the newly arrived CDs and SACDs. I’m not done yet, but I’d like to to draw your attention to the latest four additions to our catalog at Eastwind Import: One new recording by my favorite Japanese pianist and three Japanese reissues of classic jazz albums from the 1950s. These older recordings are not readily available in the CD format elsewhere.

Yoshiko Kishino / Praha [Hybrid SACD]

My favorite pianist/composer/arranger went to Praha (Prague), the Czech Republic, in 2004 and recorded a beautiful album with a piano trio (with George Mraz on bass) plus strings. The warm analog recording is transferred successfully to this gorgeous-sounding hybrid SACD.

Beverly Kenney / Come Swing with Me

My quest to complete the collection of her albums continues. Her second album for Royal Roost is a lively, swinging affair with the Ralph Burns Orchestra. (Rec. 1956)

Helen Merrill / The Nearness of You

Merrill’s last album for the EmArcy label features Bill Evans on five tunes. This is a wonderful all-standards album by a sophisticated singer. (Rec. 1957-58)

Doug Watkins / Watkins at Large

The supremely talented bassist Doug Watkins’ first leader album was issued by the obscure Transition label. A fiery, brilliant session with Hank Mobley, Donald Byrd, Kenny Burrell, Duke Jordan and Art Taylor who were all young, up-and-coming artists at the time.

As always, you can click the links above for details and listen to sample audio files.

Happy listening to you all!



Entire Collection of TBM Hybrid SACDs Now Available

by Hajime 2. April 2007 00:04

In November and December 2006, the lengendary but now defunct Japanese audiophile jazz label Three Blind Mice partnered with Sony Music Japan and issued 20 classic TBM albums in the hybrid SACD format. TBM producer Takeshi Fujii oversaw the entire process, and master tapes recorded and mixed by the famous engineer Yoshihiko Kannari was remastered in 2006 using the latest DSD technology to an impeccable standard.

The typically perfectionist production goes beyond the sound: Original jacket designs, including the “obi,” are perfectly reproduced in this “mini-LP” or paper sleeve, special limited edition. Previously we had seven of them in our catalog. Now with the addition of the remaining 13 titles, we have the entire collection available for fans of TBM, good jazz and good sound.

These records, produced during the 1960s and 1970s in Japan, are proud examples of what the Japanese musicians, producers and recording engineers were capable of at that time. Musical contents and moods vary, but the level of performances is invariably high, and the sound quality is superb.

Sunao Wada Quartet/Sextet / Coco’s Blues
Groovy all blues session by one of the best blues guitarists in Japan.

Hidefumi Toki Quartet / Toki
Lyrical debut album by the alto and soprano saxophonist, with a piano-less trio with Kazumi Watanabe on guitar.

Naosuke Miyamoto Sextet / Step!
A thrilling and exciting three horn sextet date led by a veteran bassist.

Shigeko Toya with Masaru Imada Trio
Young singer Toya shows her unique style in this debut album.

Ayako Hosokawa / Mr. Wonderful
A truly wonderful vocal album by Ayako Hosokawa, who had been singing for 17 years in California.

Mari Nakamoto / Unforgettable!
The beautiful, husky voice of Mari Nakamoto was already exceptional in her debut album.

Hideto Kanai Quintet / Concierto de Aranjuez
A progressive, daring jazz date. The title track is an impressive answer to the earlier versions by Miles Davis and Jim Hall.

Masaru Imada Trio / Standards
A groovy selection of standards by a veteran jazz pianist.

Hiroshi Fukumura Quintet
Two young trombonists formed a quintet reminiscent of Kai & J.J. and left an album that is fresh and impressive all the way around.

Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio / Live at the Misty
Yamamoto’s third album for the TBM within a year of his recording debut is a live set where his trio performed just like they did everyday. Funky and groovy!

Terumasa Hino Quintet / Live!
The world famous trumpeter and his group was in fine form in this “live in concert” recording. Free yet lyrical, moving performance.

Shoji Yokouchi Quartet / Blonde on the Rocks
A swinging twin guitar quartet session led by the two masters of jazz guitar.

Yoshiko Goto / Day Dream
A very find ballad album by the veteran singer who lets us feel the joy and heartaches of this thing called love.

As always, you can click the links above for details and listen to sample audio files at!



New Arrivals: Jan Lundgren and Bob Rockwell's latest from Marshmallow Records!

by Hajime 20. March 2007 18:56

Two brand-new CDs from Marshmallow Records have just arrived at Eastwind Import!

Jan Lundgren Trio / Plays Cole Porer Love Songs

A brand-new album from Jan Lundgren! For his seventh recording for the Japanese Marshmallow Records, Lundgren decided to do a Cole Porter songbook and chose eleven love songs. The trio's renditions of Porter's gems are straight-ahead and wonderful, and the glorious sound of the trio is captured vividly. If you are a fan, you cannot miss this one!

Bob Rockwell / The Joker

American-born veteran tenorman Bob Rockwell has lived in Copenhagen since 1983, and recorded several exciting albums for the Japanese Marshmallow Records. His latest album was recorded in 2006 when Rockwell toured Japan with a Scandinavian trio consisting of Danish Kasper Villaume on piano, Jesper Bodilsen on bass, and Swede Rasmus Kihlberg on drums. Rockwell plays authoritatively throughout, hinting influences from Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson and Hank Mobley. It is indeed a kick to hear such a straight-ahead, soulful tenor saxophone player today in a swinging, funky set like this!

If you are interested, click the links to go to Eastwind Import website for more information and listen to sample sound files.

Happy listening to you all!




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