With thousands of visitors coming from all over the world every year, Niseko has evolved into a multicultural hub and adopting all sorts of traditions and culture. Most notably, Niseko has embraced music genres from around the globe, including classical, blues and jazz. To celebrate International Jazz Day, we spoke to our residential jazz musicians Jazz Min, to find out more about the jazz scene in Niseko.
Jazz Min was formed by Kazumoto Tachibana and Shinya Sako four years ago in Sapporo, Hokkaido. The band have been playing at Ki Niseko for the past three years, with regular weekend live music sessions during both summer and winter. Kazumoto has been playing jazz for over 40 years while Shinya is considered a prodigy and an upcoming artist in the world of jazz in Japan.
What do you think makes Jazz Min different to other jazz bands in Japan?
Our band creates unique tunes through combining old melodies, folk songs and jazz. There are many jazz bands that are playing pop culture songs but Jazz Min was formed with an aim to introduce music from lesser known parts of the world to Japan.
What do you love about playing at Ki Niseko?
The creative freedom to play the type of jazz we want to play at an excellent venue. We love to entertain our listeners by using a variety of musical instruments such as clarinet, recorder and flute. We're not limited to playing with the guitar and saxophone. We also like to switch our outfits depending on the reaction we receive from our guest. In the winter, it's formal wear but in the summer, we put on vibrantly coloured clothes for our guests and the children are always fascinated by this.
What would you like your listeners to know?
We like to vary the songs we play and welcome song requests a few days prior to our live music session or even on the day!
In Niseko, there are only a handful of places where you can listen to jazz music. Half Note in Hirafu plays live jazz music during the winter season but to listen to jazz all year round, Ki Niseko is the place to go in town.
Come listen to Jazz Min at our Ki Golden Week Festival.