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Five new titles: Three Blind Mice Limited Edition SACDs

by Hajime 24. January 2007 15:15
Four new titles from the Three Blind Mice Special Limited Edition Hybrid SACD series have just arrived at Eastwind Import!

Suzuki Isao Quartet + 1 / Blue City
Bassist Suzuki Isao's follow-up to his hugely successful debut album "Blow Up!"

George Kawaguchi's "The Big 4"
An exciting hard bop quartet with tenor sax giant Hidehiko "Sleepy" Matsumoto. This is a really swinging, fun set!

Matsumoto Hidehiko Quartet / Sleepy
Hidehiko "Sleepy" Matsumoto plays brilliantly in front of a younger piano trio. There's nothing sleepy about the music here!

Teruo Nakamura Group / Unicorn
NY recording with Steve Grossman, George Cables, etc. An important document of progressive, "new" jazz in the New York scene in 1973.

Masayuki Takayanagi / Ginparis Sessions
One of the earliest "live" recording of Japanese jazz musicians, this 1963 set documents an important moment in the history of jazz in Japan.

You can check out the details and listen to sample tracks of these collector's items at Eastwind Import.



Yoshiko Kishino / Fairy Tale

by Hajime 22. January 2007 23:05

New arrival at Eastwind Import!

Yoshiko Kishino is one of the most celebrated jazz pianists in Japan. Her obvious first influence was Bill Evans, but she has developed her own lyrical and tender style over the years. She is also a very talented composer and arranger.

When this debut album was issued in 1995 by the fabled GRP label, jazz fans in her native country--including yours truly--were pleasantly surprised. Virtually unknown until then, she went to New York and recorded with the best of the best: Eddie Gomez and Marc Johnson on bass, Lewis Nash and Peter Erskine on drums, and Michael Brecker on tenor sax. No, it doesn't get much better than that!

As she was heavily influenced by Bill Evans, it must have been a dream come true--thus the album title--and also a daunting task for her to play with Evans' two former bassists. But not only she held her own against these formidable musicians, in my opinion she created one of the best piano jazz albums in the 1990s.

Listen to her "duel" with the powerful Eddie Gomez on the opening "Beautiful Love" when Lewis Nash, who also adds a great brush solo here, lays out for a chorus. Listen to her strong sense of swing on Evans-composed "Funkallero." Impressively, Kishino also wrote four originals and arranged all songs.

Superbly recorded and mastered with JVC's 20bit K2 Super Coding system, this wonderful CD will please audiophiles as well. Very highly recommended!

Available for order at Eastwind Import



Ella and Louis: Special Japanese hybrid SACD

by Hajime 20. January 2007 13:06

New arrival at Eastwind Import!

One of the greatest jazz vocal albums ever recorded, this masterpiece shines with ageless charms of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Amrstrong. Recorded in 1956 with the able backing of the Oscar Peterson Trio (plus drummer Buddy Rich, who plays tastefully and unobtrusively here like a true professional), this is a quintessential jazz recording that should be part of every music lover's collection.

The First Lady of Song and King of Kazz, sharing one microphone in this intimate recording, sounds like they were having a great time, and their joy is contagious. You just can't help but smile and feel warm and fuzzy when you listen to this superb album.

This special hybrid SACD was issued in Japan 2004 as part of the Supreme Sound Edition series commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Verve label. Remastered by the top Japanese engineer Seigen Ono using the latest DSD technology, this SACD sounds more organic, analog-like, detailed and real than any other digital versions that I know of, including the SACD issued by Verve USA. Audiophiles will be amazed at how well the session was recorded way back in 1956!

Visit Eastwind Import and order today!



Chris Connor / Softly and Swingin'

by Hajime 16. January 2007 23:43

New arrival at Eastwind Import

Chris Connor, the popular and well-respected jazz singer with husky voice and cool jazz sensibility, came to Japan in 1969 to entertain American soldiers who were stationed there at the height of the Vietnam War. She did not perform for the Japanese audience, but the people at JVC caught the opportunity to record her with top-notch Japanese jazz group.

This CD is especially important because Connor recorded few albums during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her voice here is strong, and expressions confident. The band, consisting of top Japanese musicians, show a subtle influence of more agressive and "free" style that was gaining popularity at the time. Their selection of popular songs at the time, including one of the Beatles', on "Side B" also reflects the sign of the times.

Made avalable as a CD for the first time in November 2006, this collector's item is strongly recommended for all jazz vocal fans, and especially Chris Connor fans!



Helen Merrill / Helen Sings, Teddy Swings

by Hajime 16. January 2007 02:46

New arrival at Eastwind Import: Helen Merrill / Helen Sings, Teddy Swings

Helen Merrill is one of my favorite jazz singers. She has that smokey, sometimes otherworldly voice that is instantly recognizable. Many of you probably know her eponymous debut album recorded iwith Clifford Brown n 1954 for Mercury. Merrill has a big following in Japan, and she has a good reason: she used to live there for about five years!

This album was recorded in 1970 when Helen Merrill was living in Japan. The "king of swing piano" Teddy Wilson was visiting Japan for his first tour ever, and a quick thinking on the part of producers at Japan Victor made this fortuitous recording possible.

The pairing of traditionalist Teddy Wilson and Helen Merrill, who was also doing some daring and experimental music at the time, was a truly unique opportunity, and the result is beautiful: a warm, relaxed and tasteful performance of great American Songbook standards.

Merrill and Wilson "borrowed" the rhythm section of the Thelonious Monk Quartet, which was also in Japan at the same time. On one of the dates, Monk himself came to the studio with his wife and watched the recording. Can you imagine that?

This legendary record was made available as CD for the first time in 2006. Digitally remastered with JVC's "20 bit K2 super coding," the sound quality is quite impressive, too. If you are a fan of Helen Merrill, this rare CD should definately be in your collection! Well, let me rephrase that: If you are a fan of good jazz singing, you'll love this CD. It will bring you joy, warmth and smile. Enjoy it with a warm drink and perhaps fire in the fireplace.

If you are interested, please visit



Anita O'Day / This Is Anita

by Hajime 14. January 2007 01:24

New arrival at Eastwind Import

This is a definitive, arguably the best record of the late Anita O'Day. Recorded in 1955 for Norman Granz's Verve Records, O'Day here is backed by a small combo plus strings arranged and conducted by the talented Buddy Bregman. The West Coast all-star rhythm section consisting of Paul Smith, Barney Kessel, Joe Mondragon and Alvin Stoller keeps the entire program swinging.

In the bright opener "You Are the Top," O'Day changes the lyrics to drop the names of prominent jazz musicians. Her swinging "Honeysuckle Rose" is one of the definitive interpretations of this Fats Waller tune. Sensitive "A Nightingale Sant in Berkeley Square" is devastatingly beautiful.

As long as I know, this wonderful album (mono recording) is not available as a CD in the US, which is a shame. Since this is one of my favorite albums that I have enjoyed for many years, I decided to import the recently remastered CD directly from Japan. If you are a fan of Anita O'Day, you cannot NOT have this CD in your collection!

Please visit Eastwind Import for details.



Anita O'Day at Mister Kelly's

by Hajime 12. January 2007 15:34

New arrival at Eastwind Import: Anita O'Day at Mister Kelly's

Anita O'Day, a great jazz singer who recently passed away in November 2006, left her best recordings with the Verve Records during her tenure between late 1958s and early 1960s. This intimate live date in Chicago is one of them.

Backed by a tasteful piano trio, you can hear O'Day in top form. The performance was recorded in April 1958, just three months after the legendary live performance at the Newport Jazz Festival. Highlights include "Tea For Two" performed at a blistering speed that showcases her rhythmic abilities, and a beautiful ballad medley "I Have a Reason for Living - My Love for You."

Curiously unavailable in the United States as a CD, this special Japanese edition--digitally remastered in 24 bit/96kHz and packaged in the mini-LP or "paper sleeve" format that preserves the original jacket design--is a must-have item for O'Days fans and collectors.

Limited quantities available at!



Bob Rockwell / Black Jack

by Hajime 12. January 2007 00:51

Here's a new arrival from Marshmallow Records: tenor saxophonist Bob Rockwell's hot live recording Black Jack, available at

You say you don't know Bob Rockwell? Well, he was born in Oklahoma, and as a teenager he began playing sax in Rock , R & B & Big Bands. During a period of residence in Las Vegas from the late 60’s to early 70’s he worked with many artists and shows. He moved to New York in 1978 and became a member of the seminal Thad-Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. He played with The Mel Lewis Orchestra, Tito Puente, Ben Sidran, Freddie Hubbard, Ray Drummond, Billy Hart, Rufus Reid, Victor Lewis and many others.

Since 1983 Rockwell has lived in Copenhagen. Working in Scandinavia and beyond with artists such as Ernie Wilkins, Kenny Drew, Alex Riel, Marilyn Mazur & Kenny Wheeler, he has forged special relationships with Danish pianist Jan Kasperson & bass player Jesper Lungaard. He has featured significantly in the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestras touring, broadcast and recording schedule.

Enough about the bio, but how does he sound? Well, he has a brawny, rich tone and plays with so much emotion. You could say his playing is an old style, but it is oh so attractive, a combination of straight-ahead power, emotion and melodious sensitivity.

In the summer of 2004, Rockwell toured in Japan with his group for the first time. The group consisted of talented Danish pianist Kasper Villaume, soulful Japanese bassist Shigeo Aramaki and swinging drummer Masahiko Osaka. You might not know the two Japanese players but they are well known and respected, youngish musicians with international credentials.

Captured live at a small jazz club "Dolphy" in Yokohama, the international quartet connected with the packed audience and played brilliantly. Listen to the fast tempo "So In Love." Rockwell sounds so confident and the band is full of energy. The program is also an interesting mix of standards and jazz originals. With the recorded sound that captures the excitement of that evening, you'll feel as if you are there, in the small, packed club, listening to the band that is so hot that it is way cool!

Intrigued? Go to and check it out!

Bob Rockwell / Black Jack

Recorded live on July 30, 2004, in Yokohama, Japan

Bob Rockwell (ts)
Kasper Villaume (p)
Shigeo Aramaki (b)
Masahiko Osaka (ds)

Album Tracks:
1. So In Love
2. Black Jack
3. Time on My Hands
4. Purple Gazelle
5. Blues Legacy
6. Three Little Words - Theme



New Year Sale!

by Hajime 5. January 2007 01:24
To celebrate the new year, we've started a store-wide special sale. That's right. EVERY CD we sell is on sale, for an entire month of January! Don't miss this opportunity to purchase our hard-to-find CDs and SACDs at bargain prices. Visit now!
XRCDs and Three Blind Mice Hybrid SACDs:
    Regular price $29.99 >> $26.99

Marshmallow, Atelier Sawano
and Sketch:
    Regular price $25.00 >> $22.00

Selected Marshmallow CDs
    Regular price $25.00 >> $20.00



XRCDs now avaiable at Eastwind Import!

by Hajime 31. December 2006 14:31

is a proprietary process of JVC that optimizes CD mastering and manufacturing. With the introduction of the original XRCD, JVC surprised the audiophile world and demonstrated that A LOT can be done to improve the sound quality of the redbook CD format. Since then, JVC has improved the technology even further, first upgrading to XRCD2, then more recently to XRCD24.

All the XRCDs in the world are produced in one facility in Yokohama, Japan, which means the highest level of quality assurance. You don't need a "golden ear" to hear the improvement in an XRCD. Obvious gains in clarity, transparency, dynamics and warmth of XRCD can be heard by all. And no additional equipment is necessary to realize the sonic benefits of the XRCD process. Simply put the XRCD in a regular CD player and enjoy the glorious sound!

Eastwind Import is proud to present a selection of excellent-sounding XRCDs in our catalog. Our selection is focused on jazz, but we will gladly take special orders. If you have a specific XRCD title in mind and can't find it in our website, contact us so we can order it for you.

XRCD titles currently available at Eastwind Import (as of December 31, 2006):

  • Various Artists / JVC XRCD24 Sampler
  • Hiroko Kokubu / New York Uncovered [XRCD24]
  • Carmen McRae / As Time Goes By - Alone, Live at the Dug [XRCD24]
  • Art Pepper / Landscape - Live in Tokyo '79 [XRCD24]
  • Art Pepper / Besame Mucho - Live in Tokyo '79 [XRCD24]
  • Lee Ritenour & Gentle Thoughts / Gentle Thoughts [XRCD24]
  • Sonny Rollins / In Japan [XRCD24]
  • Eliane Elias, Dave Grusin, Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Brad Mehldau / Portrait of Bill Evans [XRCD24]
  • Jacintha / Lush Life [XRCD2]

A Happy New Year to all of you!!




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