I started Tokyo Jazz Site (TJS) in late 2007 as a blog devoted to a simple quest: visit and briefly profile every jazz related establishment in the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area. The jazz scene here is extensive and diverse, including bars, cafes, clubs, record shops, performance spaces and festivals. Although New York City may be the center of the jazz world for live music, nowhere in the world can you hear jazz in more diverse & random places than in Japan.
That said, the Tokyo Metro area is massive, with over 50 train lines and 1000+ look-alike stations. Finding some of the tiny jazz joints can be tough, especially if you cannot speak Japanese. The aim of TJS was and is to help the lost jazz fan find the best spots in town. Over time the website expanded to include interviews, articles, and a podcast.
TJS has been featured in publications including the Japan Times, Asia Wall St. Journal, BBC Radio 3, BBC Travel, Smithsonian magazine, DownBeat Magazine, Wax Poetics, Departures Magazine, Vinyl Factory, Jazz On The Tube and Time Out Tokyo. It also featured on the TV program “Jazz in the City:Tokyo” produced by and broadcast on Dutch national broadcaster NPS, in Singaporean TV program “Asia By Taxi”, in the French TV program Jazzed Out and on Coy Wire’s CNN program ‘True Tokyo’
Over the life of TJS I’ve interviewed many visiting and local musicians including Jack DeJohnette, David Murray, Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton, Vijay Iyer, Ozone Makoto, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Marcus Gilmore, Gilad Hekselman, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Yagi Michiyo, Anyango, Otsuka Hiroko, Tomikawa Masashi, Hino Terumasa, Cheikh Lo, Jupiter Okwess, Brian Blade, Makaya McCraven, Joel Ross, Kuwabara Ai, Grace Mahya, Nakamura Akira, , Sone Mao and many more.
From March 2013 through October 2014 I hosted the weekly radio program OK Jazz on 76.1 InterFM in Tokyo and in 2015 started the OK Jazz podcast, now heard in over 40 countries. In July 2016 I started hosting a new show called Tokyo Jazz Map on JJazzNet, an online radio site based in Japan that features contemporary Japanese jazz, which ran through December 2019.
Since 2015 I’ve collaborated with photographer Philip Arneill on the Tokyo Jazz Joints photo project, aiming to visually capture the hidden, slowly dying world of old jazz spots throughout Japan. To date we have visited 150+ jazz joints, and have been profiled in publications such as Wax Poetics and Vinyl Factory. We’ve also held exhibitions in the US, Europe and Asia to present the project.
In May 2020 DJ Otuska and myself launched K.O.L. Radio, an online music channel featuring podcasts and mixes from selectors both in and outside Japan.
You can find me DJing around the Tokyo Metro Area at bars and clubs like Li-Po, Bonobo, the Cactus Club, Brooklyn Parlor, Electrik Jinja, INC Cocktails, and World Kitchen Baobab.
If you have any burning Qs please email me at moc.e1594543576tiszz1594543576ajoyk1594543576ot@zz1594543576ajkor1594543576m1594543576