Tuesday, Apr 18 2006 | 12:30

Kyoto Jazz Massive, legendary DJ-, musician- and producer-team, embodied by Shuya and Yoshihiro Okino, have a true reason to celebrate. For more than 10 years the two brothers have been spreading their ‘jazzy vibes’ around the globe. They are the godfathers of Japanese Acid Jazz. Where others have long gone, they still fly the flag of good taste above the pack. During the past ten years, Kyoto Jazz Massive have brought us countless releases and have also inspired numerous producers and musicians.

Compost Records appreciate this fact with the special double CD package “10th Anniversary”. Two discs featuring exclusive remixes by and from Kyoto Jazz Massive, reinterpretations, cover versions and tributes by various big names of the global music scene.

Be it the everlasting classic “Eclipse” in a ‘jazzified’ version by Sleepwalker or “Brightness Of These Days” in an exciting remix by Tru Thoughts mastermind Quantic. On these two discs, only the crème de la crème lays hands on the work of the Okino Bros. Just to drop a few names: ‘Lil’ Louie Vega, Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzales, Domu, 4Hero, Reel People, Blaze, DJ Mitsu ‘The Beats’, Toshio Matsuura, Phil Asher and more. They all show their respect and appreciation to Kyoto Jazz Massive whose merits to Jazz – especially in their home country of Japan – cannot be appreciated enough.

Jazztronik’s Ryota Nozaki gets to the heart of it: “I am afraid that if the Okino brothers disappeared tomorrow, the whole Jazz scene in Japan would disappear too. KJM are the artists I respect the most!”

Kyoto Jazz Massive’s “10th Anniversary” is Compost Records’ contribution to give Kyoto Jazz Massive the kudos they deserve!


Both Shuya and Yoshihiro Okino began their DJ careers in the late 1980’s in Kyoto. Like on so many other Jazz DJs, the Rare Groove movement in London had a great impact on them. During the peak of Acid Jazz many international DJs and artists performed in Japan, including such influential people as Paul Bradshaw from UK magazine Straight No Chaser and Gilles Peterson. Their unit name was originated when Gilles mentioned Shuya and Yoshi in a Straight No Chaser article, calling them the “Kyoto Jazz Massive”!

The older brother Shuya moved to Tokyo and managed Monday Michiru and Mondo Grosso. His project of Mondo Grosso’s hit song “Soufflesh”-MAW Remix connected Jazz and House music in a groundbreaking manner. His commitment to support the Jazz scene in Tokyo as a director and resident DJ for nightclub The Room is also well-known. During the past ten years he has booked DJs and artists such as United Future Organization, Chari Chari, Jazztronik, Kenny Dope, Patrick Forge, Trüby Trio, Jazzanova, Vikter Duplaix, Alex Attias, Makoto and Muro etc. Currently he is involved in many projects, including the most recent as a publisher for his bilingual Future Jazz free magazine called “QUALITY!”, which is now distributed worldwide.

While Shuya takes care of things in the East, his younger brother Yoshihiro also dedicates his time and effort to support the Jazz scene in Western cities like Osaka. He has booked many DJs – Rainer Trüby, Jazzanova, Patrick Forge, Da Lata, Joe Davis, Phil Asher, Modaji, Victor Davies, just to name a few – to his popular regular events ‘Cool to Kool’ in Kyoto and ‘Freedom Time’ in Osaka. Yoshi’s huge record collection and his knowledge of Jazz, Soul and Brazil later led to the opening of the famous record shop, Especial Records. His admiration of Brazilian music is particularly important in every aspect; evidently one can find some ultra rare Brazilian records in his store. Many of Kyoto Jazz Massive’s tracks with Bossa and Brazilian beat flavour are undoubtedly related to Yoshi’s taste in music. In 2000 he started his own label Especial Records. Especial has made fans all over the world with its high quality club Jazz music, and the label was responsible for the worldwide recognition of releases by Sleepwalker and Hajime Yoshizawa. Yoshihiro continues to discover and release music not only by Japanese but international artists as well.

The sound of Kyoto Jazz Massive is often associated with Jazz Fusion. They were certainly influenced by Japanese Jazz musicians, particularly the ones that succeeded in the world during the 70’s and 80’s, such as Terumasa Hino, Teruo Nakamura, and Ryo Kawasaki. These artists didn’t just play the imported foreign music conservatively, but instead created their own Jazz identity and were accepted worldwide. They collaborated with artists like Herbie Hancock, Steve Grossman, Lonnie Smith, and Harry Whitaker and embraced other genres of music such as Brazilian, Soul, and Rock to their Jazz.

Kyoto Jazz Massive achieves to do the same – to deliver the spirit of Jazz from Japan travelling across the world. The image of Jazz is too overpowering at times where people often picture piano, wood-base, saxophone, drums – and the given image limits to one style of Jazz music. However, it is in the spirit of Jazz where Kyoto Jazz Massive find freedom. Jazz has transformed from Swing, Bop, Cool, Funky and Spiritual and it keeps evolving. Witnessing when Jazz fused with Soul, Funk and other ethnic rhythm during the 1970’s, Kyoto Jazz Massive try to cross over Jazz with Techno, House and Broken Beats. Kyoto Jazz Massive attempt to carry on the spirits to follow their predecessors who dissolved music barriers and categories. And they believe in the Jazz principles – its freedom to fuse, collaborate and experiment in order to evolve and create new sounds.

The album Kyoto Jazz Massive10th Anniversary” (Compost) is goingt to be released May 05, 2006.

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