I started off the new year up with a midtown meetup in Chiyoda-ku and my dear pal and DJ extraordinaire, Tatsuo Fukutomi, also known as “bemsha” for a burger at BK and a record dig at Disk Union above Ochanomizu’s station. After a loooong chat over lunch and a short obligatory dig at DU, we headed out to the plaza and back towards to the station, but not before we both spotted a camo’d-out character walking down the Disk Union stairs and across the square with what seemed like a record store bag.

Bemsha knew exactly what I cooking up at my glance and nodded for me to “go for it” which I did. Off to the races…

“Pardon me. Did you score some records today?” That’s when we met lovely Alan from the Isle of Mull. “The Isle of WHERE?,” I asked, having never heard of Mull, and Alan proudly announced it again, “Off the western coast of Scotland.” I later read up the Isle of Mull and found a history as long and rich as civilization itself, replete with millennia-old monasteries, viking-plundered sites, the old castles and graves of kings, including Macbeth, not to mention some of the nations most beautiful wilderness and wildlife viewing. The Isle of Mull also has sea caves, the most famous of which is called Fingal’s Cave, also known as An Uamh Binn (“Cave of Melody”) and has a unique, cathedral-like structure with remarkable naturally formed hexagonal columns that are believed to add to its sonic mystique. And get this: When German composer Felix Mendelssohn once visited in 1830, the soundscapes of crashing waves into the walls of the cave inspired him to write his Hebrides Overture. He was so moved by his experience at the cave that he was said to have scribbled the opening lines on the spot!

Alan was also on a quest for musical inspiration, this time on one of his many visits to Tokyo in search of some good Jazz, but came up empty handed on this particular instance, mentioning the record store was just a bit too crowded for his tastes. Hey, bemsha and I could relate! It’s great that the record stores are packed, but sometimes it makes it a little challenging to relax! “Well…” I said, “If you don’t have any records, you can still recommend something we should check out and be added to the project” On the topic of Jazz, Alan first recommended Japanese pianist and synth fusion pioneer, Masabumi Kikuchi, who frequently worked with Miles Davis, though apparently never recorded with him. Yussef Dayes was another artist Alan recommended we check out, an English drummer who is prominent in the South London contemporary jazz scene and whose debut album “Black Classic Music” Alan raved about, #inthequeue!

As I was just about to make Alan’s portrait when he said “Well, though I don’t have any records today, I do have my Frank Sinatra and Count Basie T-shirt on. You could photograph that?” YES!! DOUBLE YES!! (Sinatra and Basie’s collaboration is legendary and well-worth making your own deep dive on, which will lead you to some amazing records …some that I’ve been enjoying for the last few weeks!)

GREAT connection made! So nice to meet you, Alan! Thanks for sharing yourself and your time!

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again and again: “The world gets smaller through music!”

More TRS on the way…

PS. Thank you, bemsha for the behind-the-scenes photos below.

Frank Sinatra – Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First
Label: Reprise Records – R-1008, Reprise Records – R 1008
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Mono, Gatefold
Country: UK
Released: 1962
Genre: Jazz, Pop
Style: Swing, Big Band

Masabumi Kikuchi – Susto
Label: Columbia – FC 37372
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1981
Genre: Jazz
Style: Fusion

Yussef Dayes – Black Classical Music
Label: Brownswood Recordings – BWOOD0310LP, Warner Music Group – 5054197580444, Nonesuch – 5054197580444, Cashmere Thoughts Recordings – BWOOD0310LP
Format: 2 x Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: UK
Released: Sep 8, 2023
Genre: Hip Hop, Jazz
Style: Afrobeat, Contemporary Jazz, Jazz-Funk

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