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Friday, Feb. 13, 2009

Jazz collective thrills, unites Asian nations

Staff writer

Unit Asia, a multicultural jazz outfit known for its high-energy performances and versatile musical sensibilities, is about to delight music lovers in Japan.

The group — whose members are Japanese guitarist Isao Miyoshi, Thai saxophone player Koh Mr. Saxman, Japanese drummer Hiroyuki Noritake, Malaysian pianist Tay Cher Siang and Japanese bassist Shigeki Ippon — was formed last year under the auspices of the Japan Foundation as an attempt to broaden the scope and creativity of Asian musicians.

Last autumn, they toured to Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand, where their performances drew standing ovations, according to the Japan Foundation.

Isao Miyoshi, Unit Asia's bandleader and a top guitarist on the Japanese jazz scene, said all five musicians did their best to express themselves through music during the tour. "I realized when we played with the same attitude, our music overcame borders and language differences and managed to develop a more powerful sound," he said.

Unit Asia will perform at Live Spot Rag in Kyoto on Feb. 17 from 7:30 p.m., Tokuzo in Nagoya on Feb. 18 from 7 p.m. and at the Amlux Hall in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, on Feb. 20 from 7 p.m. Tickets for all shows are ¥4,500 in advance (¥5,000 on the door.) For reservations, call Ticket Pia at (0570) 02-9999. For more information on the Kyoto gig, call Live Spot Rag at (075) 241-0446; for the Nagoya gig, call Tokuzo at (052) 733-3709; and for the Tokyo gig, call Planet Arts at (03) 5428-3211.

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