Jazz Live at Cotton Club Tokyo

Hirofumi Asaba’s Quartet will be performing at Cotton Club Tokyo in Marunouchi on July 11th. This venue is Tokyo’s premier jazz club, where only top jazz musicians from Japan and around the world perform. Guitarist and band leader Hirofumi Asaba and the other members have frequently appeared at the swing dance event Necola Premium Hop held at TSDS’s Studio Necola, receiving high praise from swing dancers worldwide. Unlike Studio Necola, Cotton Club Tokyo does not have a dance floor, but it offers world-class sound systems, luxurious interiors, club lighting, meals, drinks, and first-class hospitality. It promises to be a night where you can enjoy their super swingin’ jazz quartet. Located in the heart of Tokyo, Marunouchi, come and enjoy authentic jazz by Japan’s treasures.

Hopping in Shinshu

Why don’t you go hopping in Shinshu, Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture? Swingo Nagano, the organizer in Nagano, is going to have their first swing dance event in Matsumoto City, the center of beautiful Shinshu.

There will be a free beginner-friendly dance lesson before the dance. Then, at 7:00 PM, hit the dance floor to dance to the live performance of a 5-piece swing jazz band at the Storyhouse Cafe & Bar!

If dancing isn’t your thing, feel free to enjoy the live jazz music with a drink in hand while watching the dancers! So, put on your best outfit and come join them for the event.

Organizer: Swingo Nagano
Venue: Storyhouse Cafe&Bar
Website of the venue including guesthouse to stay: here
Date: Sunday, July 14th, the middle day of the three-day weekend!
Time:
– 6:00 PM – Beginner-friendly dance lesson with the organizer
– 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Dance party with live music
Admission: Free (One drink minimum, donations to the band will be appreciated)
Booking: NOT required
Facebook event: here

Band members:
Haruna Komatsu on clarinet
Junichi Murata on saxophone
Toru Matsui on piano
Terry Inukai on bass
Hiroyuki Negishi on drums

About express buses from Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto City: here

Ikebukuro Jazz Festival

The Ikebukuro Jazz Festival will take place on May 18th and 19th. Over 200 jazz bands will perform around the Global Ring Theatre near the west and south exits of Ikebukuro station.

The following information is based on TSDS’s independent analysis derived from our past experiences, with the goal of determining whether lindyhoppers can enjoy dancing at this event.

This event is free to enjoy, and no advance booking is required. The venue consists of nine areas, labeled 1-A, 1-B, 2, through 8, all of which are outdoor or rooftop decks of department stores.

Generally, most band performances last for 30 minutes, scheduled in easily understandable time slots such as 13:30-14:00 or 16:00-16:30. However, there are some exceptions, like 18:45-19:30 or 15:40-16:10. While it’s advisable to read the Japanese schedule provided by the organizers for precise information, it can be overwhelming due to its extensive nature. The English schedule provided here by TSDS simplifies this aspect slightly while prioritizing readability. Overall, you should be able to obtain compass-like information on where to go during these time slots.

The organizers of this event are the Toshima Ward in Tokyo, along with various shops and public facilities around Ikebukuro station. TSDS is not affiliated with the organizers. Amateur and semi-professional jazz bands will perform there. Especially at Venue 1-A, 1-B and 3, approximately 40 big bands will gather over the two days. The jazz genres vary, including Swing jazz, Blues, Latin, Fusion, Soul, Funk, R&B, Gospel, J-Pops and Contemporary jazz. As Lindy Hoppers, we are coming here to dance, so we need to find bands that are likely to play Swing, Blues and R&B among the many. Since the organizer’s website is all in Japanese, we base our search on that and list only the those jazz bands here in English.

Most of the bands performing from Venue 4 to 8 are jazz combos. While there may be bands playing swing among them, there are simply too many bands to discern accurately. Therefore, they have been omitted in the TSDS version of the schedule below.

This event will start in the late morning and continue until night. Furthermore, the venue is spacious, and a large number of spectators gather. Therefore, where the dancers meet becomes important. We plan to post information about rendezvous on the discussion section of the next Facebook Event. However, even then, whether we can actually rendezvous in a crowded venue might require some luck.

Finally, this post will be updated regularly, so we strongly recommend refreshing it periodically.


I’ve just returned from Ikebukuro after wrapping up the first day of the event. Since it’s held simultaneously across eight venues, it’s impossible to check out all the bands even if I wanted to. Venues 1-A, 1-B, and 3 usually feature good bands and have excellent sound systems, so they’re recommended for swing dancing. Venue 2, on the other hand, offers a different music genre from swing. Venues 4 to 8 often host smaller bands, and their outdoor performances may not be as strong, so it might be okay to skip them.

The first three venues primarily showcase big bands, and many of these bands consist of members in their 30s who have experience with university big bands. As a general trend, amateur bands from this generation tend to lean towards playing modern jazz, funk, or anime songs, which often results in a weaker clean four-beat rhythm that swing dancers desire, making it difficult to dance. On the other hand, bands with members around their 50s, who are more familiar with swing jazz, tend to offer more danceable performances. Of course, there are exceptions.

Let me introduce the bands from the first day that I had the chance to dance to:
Venue#1-A, 12:30- Minato Jazz Club
Venue#1-A, 16:30- Pinot Gris
Venue#1-A, 17:30- Pepoyo Band


Venue#3, 15:00- Tokyo Galaxy Jazz Orchestra

I won’t be able to attend the second day tomorrow, but as I mentioned earlier, focusing on Venues 1 and 3 should provide enough enjoyment for dancing. Please note that I’ve revised the band schedule for the second day in the TSDS version, so please reload to check the latest version. Additionally, there’s dancing space available everywhere. This aspect was more convenient than the Shinjuku Jazz Festival.

That’s all for now.
Hiro

Luup’s port is available at Studio Necola


Luup, a bike-sharing service, is now available at Studio Necola. There are two types, an electric-assisted bike and an electric scooter. You should download the app onto your smartphone, create an account, and use it to borrow or return.

水色の電動アシスト自転車や電動キックボードをシェアできる Luup の駐機場(ポート)が、Studio Necola にできました。これで最寄駅のポートからNecolaまで来るのにとても便利になりました。どうぞご利用ください。Luup の App をダウンロードして登録すれば利用できます。とても安価です。

Shinjuku Trad Jazz Festival Where We Can Hop

Short notice, but good notice. Save November 11th and 12th for fantastic Shinjuku Trad Jazz Festival where we can lindyhop on the street. Free outdoor event and no signing-up is required.  Never miss them.

  • From 11:40am till 16:30pm on Saturday November 11th
  • Suggested main dancing time on the 11th will be 12:30-14:50pm
  • From 11:40am till 16:30pm on Sunday November 12th
  • Suggested main dancing time on the 12th will be 13:20-14:50pm
  • Four venues: three spots on the street and one music club
  • We can dance on the streets freely, but maybe not at the club.
  • Google My-Maps: Here
  • Band Schedule: Here on Google drive. Reload it to get the latest one,
  • No signup needed and free of charge on the street
  • Maybe one drink should be ordered inside the club.
  • Stay tuned here for more information regarding the festival.
  • Check out Facebook page and group of the Tokyo Swing Dance Society too.
  • Photos: Day-1 & Day-2
  • Photos on the facebook event. Visit DISCUSSION to see the pohtos.

Naatu, Swing and Indian Independence Movement

Have you already enjoyed RRR?  RRR’s “Naatu Naatu” won the Academy Award 2023 for best original song.

この映画、1920年代のイギリス植民地支配に対するインド独立闘争が時代背景で、その実、インド映画ならではのダンスファイトを中心に持ってきたエンターテインメント映画。ハイライトは Naatu Naatu という歌詞の歌に合わせて Naatu dance で対決するシーンでした。2023年のアカデミー賞のベストオリジナルソング部門を取りました。

For the full story, see here.

Ladies’ Twist in Japanese

There is a part about ‘Ladies’ Twist’ at the book Frankie Manning, Ambassador of Lindy Hop.written by Frankie Manning and Cynthia R. Millman.  That’s an English version of course.   And there is the Japanese edition too, but there are lots of translation errors in it.

Since this is one of important parts of the book, I made its abstract in Japanese below.


抄訳:ツイスト誕生秘話

英文原作は細かい時代背景や登場人物のひととなり、会話の詳しい描写が多々書き込まれていて、当時のことを知るなら一級の歴史資料です。一方、要はどういう経緯なのかを簡単に理解するには、このような抄訳の方が向いていると思い、ここに作成した次第です。

  • フォローの Twist が開発されたのは、おそらくHarvest Moon Ball (1935) 以前のこと。
  • 開発者は “Twist Mouse” George Ganaway と Edith Matthews の二人か、またはそのどちらか一方。
  • この二人がある日、Savoy Ballroom に Herbert “Whitey” White と Frankie Manning を訪ね、Swing-Out に Twist を入れたので見てくれと言って来た。ボスの Whitey がそれを見て大いに気に入り、自分の右腕のFrankie にこっそりと真似してみろと勧めた。Twist Mouse と Edith がSavoy を出るやいなや、動きをばっちり把握したFrankie はダンスチームのメンバーに直ぐに伝え、関連する独特のヒップムーブなど技術がさらに向上していった。
  • それ以前、フォローは8-1-2 でRock-stepをしていた。
  • Frankie はこれ以前からリードだけでなくフォローの動きも遊びの中でやっていたのと、彼がダンスを指導する機会がだんだん増えてきていたことが、このTwist をあっという間に世に広めることができた理由でもある。

Japanese abstract translated by Hiro