In Japan (Music Thoughts, Nobody Else But Me, Mica O-kura)

p8-jacket-omoteThey love jazz in Japan. I remember when I was collecting compact discs, I would only find obscure hard-to-find titles in Japanese pressings. So whenever I see a Japanese jazz singer, I always pay attention. There’s not much information about Mico O-kura on the internet, which in this day and age, is weird, almost unthinkable. This is the extent of what I found:

She start study piano at age9. She start to singing jazz at age 20. Released 1st album Nobody Else But Me on 2016. She Based perform in Jazz club at Tokyo and Yokohama area.

Perhaps that’s better, as I can listen to her with an open mind and open ear. O-kura has great musicality, and her band consists of pianist Eisuke Kato, and Kiyoshi Ikeda on base and Kazuaki Yokoyama on drums. They certainly know what they are doing, and one can sense O-kuna’s love of the material. She sings with a stronger accent but I do not mind that all. I always say I think accents personalize singers’ interpretations of songs. But I wonder how much of these words O-kuma understands. While she displays technical musical proficiency, I sense a detachment to the material, treating these songs with gloves. The scat portion in ‘Nobody Else But Me,’ felt memorized instead of free-flowing and I never got the poignancy of ‘I Didn’t Know What Time It Was’ and its lyrics. The record is easy on the ears, but also low on depth.

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