Monday, April 23, 2007

神保彰 in 宇部 Jimbo Akira in Ube

Just came back from seeing the 神保彰ワンマンオーケストラ (Jimbo Akira One Man Orchestra) in Ube.
Some brief background: 神保彰 (Jimbo Akira) is a Japanese drummer well known for his use of electronics (specifically triggers and electronic drums). He started out with the Japanese jazz unit カシオペア (Casiopea) before going solo and doing work with other artists. Right now he is doing a club tour of Japan with his One Man Orchestra, which is really just him, his drums and electronics. Tonight he performed a number of songs including Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song, a Sound of Music medley, Rhapsody in Blue, a spy medley including the 007 and Mission: Impossible themes, a Jimi Hendrix medley, Stevie Wonder's Superstition, Take the A Train, Cream's Sunshine of Your Love, Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, some original songs and a bunch more I'm blanking on right now. It was an amazing show because he's an amazing drummer. The amount of time, effort and planning that have to go into each song is mind-boggling. He has to map out each song, arrange each part and pre-program his pads and triggers because he is integrating the melody into the drum part to put together the song. If he mis-hits he can screw up the sequencing and therefore sometimes the entire song. Here are some examples of his one man orchestra:

The Theme to Mission: Impossible (thanks to Youtube user control75). (note: I know he hits a wrong note at about the 1:22 mark)

Cream's Sunshine of Your Love (thanks to Youtube user N3maN)

Since that time he's added more electronics to create a fuller sound. In addition to the electronic drums he has triggers on all his acoustic drums (including the bass). One pad is used to trigger the next sequence required. I took a photo of his set before the show:

If he comes through your town, you should definitely try to go see him!

Other links of interest:
Jimbo Akira uses Yamaha drums.
His signature set
A closer look at his signature snare
He uses the DTX series of electronic drums
The Yamaha DTX commercial
He has a signature sticks for Vic Firth and Yamaha
He uses Zildjian cymbals
Also, check out his drummerworld page which has more videos. I can't recommend that site enough. (Quicktime needed to watch videos)

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