Monday, December 28, 2009

The Beginning of Unit Asia

So, this is how Unit Asia came about. Oooohhhh, I didn't know about that until now.
I think this is written by the manager of Unit Asia Mr. Hommura.

The Beginning of UNIT ASIA

Autumn 2007, I received a request from the Japan Foundation "To
create a new Asian Jazz, we would like to form a group of Jazz
musicians in Asia comprised of Japanese musicians. We also
plan to organize a Southeast Asian Tour for the new group."
For an organizer who had organized many
tours in Asia like me, this project was "what I had dreamed of".
I really wanted to make it a success, so I started to choose
musiciansto participate in the project.

Isao MiyoshiFrom the very
beginning when I
heard of this project,
I already decided
that the musician who
will be the center
of the group
must be "Isao Miyoshi".
Miyoshi is the musician
who participated in
"Asian Fantasy
Orchestra" ASEAN Tour 2003,
starting from Bangkok (Thailand), Yangon (Myanmar),
Vientiane (Laos) and Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam).

The concert was organized to celebrate the relationship between
Japan and ASEAN.
He is certainly a skillful earnest guitarist with a variety of music
styles. Moreover, his endurance is exceptionally admired.
He was one of the key people who made AFO ASEAN
Tour 2003 successful. I was thinking that, someday I
want to organize a concerttour with him as the main role.

Hiroyuki NoritakeI discussed the project with him.
He immediately agreedand said
"Please allow me to join this project".

So the next step was to choose a
drummer and bassist. We agreed to
choose "Hiroyuki Noritake" as
Noritake is a member of the fusion
group called "T-Square". He is a
very famous and colorful Japanese drummer. His drum is
soft and precise with a widerange of skills in jazz, fusion, pop,
and classic.

For bassist, the name of "Shigeki Ippon" was proposed by
Noritake. According to Ippon's studio and
behind-the-scene work for musicals and plays, even
though he has limited experience as a bassist,
his ability is promising. He really is a rising
star of Japan at the moment.

Shigeki IpponFrom the beginning, I had the idea that
I would let Japanese musicians
play a main part in the rhythm
section. To widen the possibility
of music for this group, we needed
musicians who showed a power
to respond and I had
confident in these 3 powerful musicians.

Regarding the group name, ever since
the time that the Japan Foundation
proposed this project, (though it seems so ordinary) I already
named the group as"UNIT ASIA". When I discussed with the 3
musicians, they all agreed and said "Isn't it good?", so
we decided to use this name.

After that, we started to ask the Japan Foundation in each
country around Asia to submit the list of musicians to
participate in this event. Finally we came up
 with 13 musicians, their performance CD, and profile.
We all watched those performances together.
It was a tough decision to choose teammates from
all these fantastic musicians. However, we finally
decided, for the saxophonist, to choose
a famous Thai superstar Koh Mr. Saxman
who has a powerful emotional performance technique
with beautiful voice.

For pianist, we decided to choose Tay Cher Siang
from Malaysia, who has a clear piano touch,
lively and charming performance. We promptly
reached them and explained the project to them.
They both showed eagerness to participate and
said "I am interested in the project and please let me in".
That's how we finally got 5 members for UNIT ASIA.

Tay Cher Siang

Koh Mr. Saxman

UNIT ASIA Southeast Asian Tour 2008

October 16th 2008, all the group members and concert staffs
gathered together at Training Room, Philharmonic Hall in
Kuala Lumpur where the first rehearsal of UNIT ASIA started.

Miyoshi was the center of the group who collected various
music styles and ideas from each member. Since they are
the top selected musicians, although sometimes they got lost,
at the end of the second rehearsal day they already created
a framework of each song. October 20th, we departed
to Singapore for the first concert. Lasting for 1 month,
Southeast Asian Tour already got started.

October 22nd,
the memorable first
concert of
place atSingapore
Conference Hall.
All of the members
showed their excitement
while walking
onto the stage.
However, after
the first song,
"Song of UNIT ASIA"
finished, a big applause
and appreciation
from audiences
gave them the
confidence to
perform an incredible
first concert
beyond our
imagination. After the encore song, "For the Children",
they were given a standing ovation. The warm applause and support
from audiences that night encouraged members of UNIT ASIA
to work to the utmost ability.

After that, we organized concerts in Manila (Philippines),
Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia),
and a final performance at Chiang Mai (Thailand).

Every time, they were warmly welcomed by the audiences.
For every concert, they developed a new music style and
deepened the friendships amongst each other.

Although they differ in countries, birthplace, childhood,
 circumstances, music learning processes, and
career path, 5 different musicians encountered
their teammates in this Southeast Asian Tour
(some people said they were destined to).
With the precious experience gained from this tour,
we areconfident for the promotion of UNIT ASIA and their future.

Having members with confidence in their teammates,
warmth in sharing, powerful performance, gentle expression
through their music, and strong intentions toward UNIT ASIA,
these compositions urged their performances
to be unique. The integration of rock and pop
music under jazz's principle goes beyond music's
boundary and create the "New Asian Jazz" with their
own originality and scale.

Later activities of UNIT ASIA are not only to broaden the
possibilities of Asian Jazz, but also, hopefully, to
represent a promising future of Asian jazz musicians.
Regarding the show in Bangkok, we wished to perform
a show full of energy which can bring warmness
through our audiences' hearts.
We are waiting to see you at the concert.

November 2009 / Planet Arts
Hommura Ryonosuke (Producer)

About writer: Mr. Hommura Ryonosuke has long worked as
management staff at "PIT INN," the place which has been the center
of the Japanese Jazz scene for years. He is active in producing music
events such as "Japan and Korea Music Festival" featuring famous
Japanese drummer Mr. Eitetsu HAYASHI and internationally famous
South Korean Samul Nori ensemble led by Mr. Kim Duk-Soo.
He has also designed and produced international music tours like
Asian Fantasy Orchestra's Asian tour in 1995, 1998 and 2003, the
South East Asian tour of famous Japanese Jazz musician Mr. Satoru
Shionoya's group in 2007 and Unit Asia's South East Asian tour in 2008.

Unit Asia will perform in Bangkok on Monday 29th March 2010, 8 pm.
at Main Hall, Thailand Cultural Center!

Oh Ya, we will be performing in Bangkok in 2010.
I heard that we might be in Malaysia again in 2011. That's another year away!
But no worries, it is still a year before 2012.

Howdy Ho!

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