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Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer festival fever

Saori Yano @ Sapporo City Jazz

Staff writer

Sapporo will be jampacked with live music for nearly a month from July 13 through Aug. 9 — with its biggest jazz extravaganza yet.

News photo

Gracing the city with her presence July 30 will be 22-year-old Saori Yano. She's the alto saxophonist behind the theme song for TV Asahi's "Hodo Station" news program. Though she may look a bit like J-pop star Kumi Koda, especially in recent promotional images, Yano has undeniable talent. With her sultry sound, nuanced phrasing and confident delivery, she'll be a knockout.

Also check out: On Aug. 9, Japanese pop singer Juju, who a few months ago had her big break with the single "What's Love?"; the same day, soulful diva Marlena Shaw; Aug. 1, legendary, trailblazing saxophonist Sadao Watanabe with his six-piece band.

The setting: The city is a treat as summer in Sapporo is beautiful since it's not as hot or humid as is the rest of the country. The main, central park that runs through the city leading to the iconic Sapporo TV Tower will host several performances. The other main venue is an outdoor stage about 30 minutes from downtown Sapporo at the Artpark, where the three-year-old festival's predecessor, Sapporo Jazz Forest, was held from 1999 to 2006.

When/where: For a schedule of events, information about venues and ticket prices in English, visit sapporocityjazz.com/2009/en.html

Summer festival roundup

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