by Bruce Rutledge, The North American Post
Kobe jazz vocalist Ami Latte, who will play Dimitrou’s Jazz Alley this September, has a message for us:
“Seventeen years ago, a Japanese man arrived in Seattle from Kobe, Japan. His name is Ichiro. Many people said that he would not succeed in the major leagues, but he never gave up and worked hard … I want to keep challenging myself like he did … That is my life goal.”
Ami plays Jazz Alley on September 20. Keiko Matsui plays there August 23-26. And this past week, Seattle native Jeff Kashiwa, formerly of The Rippingtons, played there on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Perhaps no country has embraced the original American music of jazz like Japan has. This steady lineup of Nikkei and Japanese entertainers at Jazz Alley reminds us of the importance of exposing ourselves to other cultures.
Music crosses borders like no other medium. In the coming weeks, Jazz Alley will host Belgrade-born guitarist Ana Popovic, the Pancho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, and a pioneer of funk, saxophonist Maceo Parker, who played with James Brown and the Funkadelics back in the day.
That sort of lineup recalls the old Central and International districts, when a stroll down Jackson Street would include all sorts of music flowing out of the jazz clubs. Dave Holden remembers hearing his Dad jamming with Louis Armstrong in his living room. Quincy Jones used to play at Washington Hall. While the venues have changed, Seattle still pulses with jazz. Let’s make sure that pulse stays strong.