PE’Z brings fusion jazz to SeoulFrom the streets of Shibuya, Tokyo’s shopping and entertainment district, comes PE’Z, a fusion jazz band composed of five young men. Now one the most popular jazz bands in Japan, the group is making its third major appearance here in Korea.
The group is led by trumpeter Ohyama “B.M.W.” Wataru, who was part of the Ben Folds Five tour of 1999. Other members include saxophonist Kadota “Jaw” Kousuke, keyboardist and vocalist Hizumi Masayuki, drummer Kou and bassist Nirehara Masahiro.
PE’Z made its way in the music industry from the streets ― literally. The group started out by playing on the streets of Shibuya in central Tokyo in the summer of 2000, gradually gaining popularity in Japan through various “guerrilla” street performances before releasing its debut album in 2002.
At the time, the album topped the Japanese indie music charts; PE’Z was also the only instrumental band to rank in the top 10 on Japan’s Oricon chart, which is comparable to Billboard magazine’s chart in the United States.
The group is also gaining more recognition in Korea. In May last year, PE’Z made a surprise visit to Seoul and played in subway stations and on the streets in major trendy neighborhoods such as Myeong-dong and Daehangno. The group also performed outdoors at a pocket park near Hongik University, which is famous for its live music scene, and at the May festivities at Yonsei University.
Due to the favorable response from the crowds, the band returned to Korea twice last year, once for a solo concert and once to participate as a special guest in the ETPFEST, a music festival featuring performances by international rock bands.
Although PE’Z albums are classified in the jazz category, it is almost impossible to define the band’s music according to traditional genres. From swing, acid jazz and bossa nova to hip hop and jazz rock, the music sometimes has a 1940s sound, while at other times it seems extremely modern.
The band’s activities also demonstrate how it moves back and forth among different styles of music. It has participated in the Fuji Rock Festival and performed with renowned Japanese DJs such as Fantastic Plastic Machine. The hybrid type of music that the group performs has been dubbed “Nippon-ish jazz” here, taking into consideration the concept of Nippon fashion, which is a mixture of different styles of clothing in one outfit.
PE’Z will be playing at the Dome Art Hall in Seoul tomorrow evening. To promote the band’s role as a cultural ambassador, the concert will also feature appearances by Korean artists Windy City and Jeon Jae-deok.
by Wohn Dong-hee
The concert takes place tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Dome Art Hall in the Children’s Grand Park. The nearest subway station is Children’s Grand Park, line No. 7. Tickets cost 66,000 won. For tickets and more information, call Ticketlink, 1588-7890, or Movent, 779-0870.