Photo by shinya arimoto
A perfect start to the fest in the Cafe de Paris
Osamu Matsumoto & ladies belong to horny funk gang is quite a mouthful as a band name. However, as singer Miho KImura noted, the group deserves a long name for the amount of quality members in the group. By my count there were 19 people up on stage on the tiny Cafe de Paris stage. It was a great way to open the Cafe de Paris for Fuji Rock 2016.
The group is led by trombone player and band leader, Osamu Matsumoto and fronted by jazz singer extraordinaire, Miho Kimura. With 19 members in the band, including a large female only brass section, a pair of guitarists, a drummer and a keyboardist the possibilities are seemingly endless as to what style this can group. Over the 50 minute set Osamu and the gang took us through ska, big band jazz, bebop, funk and even a bit of enka.
Singer Miho Kimura is small in size but makes up for it with a seductive, booming voice and terrific vocal range. She sang soft jazzy ballads, belted out harder big band numbers, then showed off her true range in jazzy enka tunes. The band had a very tight sound and was well controlled by leader Osamu Matsumoto, who looked like he has more than his share of experience leading big bands.
With so many members it was hard to give time to an individual player. Throughout the short set, singer Kimura even had to break the member intros into parts as to shorten the time it would take. Of course, leader Matsumoto was given some time to shine on the trombone, soloing and dancing around while keeping the big group in check.
There was a lively saxophone battle near the end of the set that brought the mostly subdued early afternoon Cafe de Paris crowd to their feet. Through it all it was an incredibly skillful and very jazzy, musical way to kick off Fuji Rock at the Cafe de Paris.