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XJAZZ! presents Nautilus at privatclub

  • Jul 28 2024 - 6:00 pm
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In the midst of jazz-funk reissues and Rare Groove compilations, Nautilus emerges making exactly the same sound. But new. And out of Japan.

In the beginning was the song – and the song was: Nautilus. Toshiyuki Sasaki heard this obscure Bob James groove track from James’ 1974 début album and named the band he newly formed in 2014 after it. The history of how Bob James’ works have been received is not insignificant for the development of the band as a whole.

During the seventies and eighties, jazz-funk virtuoso and composer Bob James was a much sought-after figure. While his compositional skills remained in demand for a long time, the commissions dried up a little later. In lieu of this, hip-hop crews rediscovered the rich treasures
to be found in James’s oeuvre and used his tracks as samples. It wasn’t until the noughties that resourceful label makers and record producers unearthed old gems from sample databases. Magnificently shimmering jazz and funk numbers found their way onto compilations and re-issues on LPs.

As a band Nautilus was born out of this mixture of digging, rare and organic grooves and early jazz revival. From then on, Toshiyuki Sasaki and bassist Shigeki Umezawa were to become the heart and brain of the trio – for the first few years they were accompanied by Daisuke Takeuchi on piano and keyboard.

Today, Nautilus have expanded their repertoire, for example cooperating with their compatriot and singer Anna Sato. Frontman Toshi Sasaki, who is largely responsible for the collaboration, once again sets the tone here. As can be heard on last year’s LP, these two worlds also blend together perfectly: For one thing, there’s the now familiar cover sound which takes aim at »Manhã« by Brazilian jazz heroes Azymuth on the advice of new label maker Oonops. On the flip side, there’s the surprise: Anna Sato’s classic enka vocals and a sample of the Japanese shamisen lute garland and accentuate break-beat beds that put you in an otherworldly trance.

One thing is clear: Nautilus aren’t a run-of-the-mill band; they don’t really care about clichés and expectations. Instead, they are one of the most exciting jazz bands around right now – both here and in Japan.

Jul 2, 2024