Two and a half years ago I posted about one of the great joys of Tokyo, the live jazz street bands that play for free outside some of the major stations, like this band. A couple of weeks ago I happened to see them again in the very same spot, some new members, but the fantastic drummer was still there! You can see a short 45 second clip of him in this video. Before I got my camera ready another photographer (blogger perhaps?) started shooting in front of me. It’s always fun to see other photographers at work!
Whenever I am feeling down about my photography and want to feel better, I go out and find a jazz band. Jazz band photography are like the human equivalent of kittens: very few jazz bands fail to look cool, and very few kittens fail to look cute. Once you find them, all you have to do is compose and click. There’s nothing more to it. You don’t need to direct them, there’s no props or stylists around to make things complicated. They look good, and they know it. Unless you are in a really bad way, you’ll come home with photos of very cool jazz people. It’s easier to forgive and forget one-self after that. Regain just a little bit of photographic
This jazz band frequently plays outside the East exit of JR Ikebukuro station, one of the biggest stations in Japan but you wouldn’t know it if you measured the side walk outside, not enough room for even three people to walk abreast. Very crowded, at all hours. I was lucky to catch them one particularly chilly Sunday evening. And even though I have seen them many many times, I have never stopped to ask them their names. Listening to good, live, jazz in Japan is not easy nor cheap. These guys do it for free. I’d trade all my photography skills in an instant if I could have half the skill of that drummer. Enjoy!