Studio Mule / Europe / 2019
johnny’s disk record is an independent jazz label run by the owner of jazz cafe kaiunbashi no johnny located in rikuzentakata city in iwate prefecture, japan.
the legendary label released a string of albums of high quality but down-to-earth music, spanning from modern jazz, avant-garde jazz to left-field pop. albums such as “farewell my johnny / left alone” and “aya’s samba” has reached cult status among fans as some of the best works to come out of the japanese jazz scene.
another japanese jazz classic, aya’s samba was a debut effort by bassist eiji nakayama, who played as part of elvin jones’ jazz machine and toured with don friedman.
this album is an important release in the johnny’s disk catalogue, not only because it is the first ever release, but also because the owner hearing the band play was the reason why the label came to be.
“aya’s samba” is a mellow jazz samba in minor key that’s considered a japanese jazz classic. slow ballad “yellow living” is drenched in melancholy with emotive keys and sax notes, while the dreamy “sea sea town” impresses with a captivating, expressive sax solo. the 4 tracker ends with “far-away road,” an uptempo tune with rhythmic keys.