Instead of studying for finals this week, I was researching different things I could do in Tokyo that would be slightly out of the ordinary tourist experience. After discussing Japanese music in class and talking about the various concerts available to us, I wondered if Tokyo had any open jam sessions I could walk into during our trip; most of the formally-organized jam sessions in Boulder are 21+ and usually on a late weeknight.
Well it turns out, Tokyo has a bigger jam scene than I thought. And surprisingly, Tokyo is the biggest hub for jazz music in all of Japan! When I think of Japanese music, the only thing that comes to mind is K-Pop. However, the Japanese grew accustomed to jazz in the 1920s when it was introduced by the Americans living in the Philippines. Since we have a few evenings free, there are a couple jazz bars, as well as open jams that may be of interest to some of you.
The Cotton Club (named after the iconic New York club) is about 10 km from our hotel and showcases many jazz, as well as R&B, soul, and contemporary artists. Being a small venue, however, its seats are almost always filled every night of the week.
The Pit Inn is about 5 km from our hotel in Shinjuku which is more focused on showcasing both local and renowned performers rather than the entire dining/entertainment experience.
Tokyo’s jam scene is mainly focused around improv jazz, so I looked up a couple of places we could go to try and jam with some locals for a night.
There is a Funk jam session at Somethin’ Jazz Club on Wednesday night. The calendar on their website (http://somethinjazz.sakura.ne.jp/sche2/sche35.cgi) offers many opportunities to jam and this club is less than 2 kilometers from our hotel!
Finally, this music blog offers many different options for clubs depending on what night of the week works best. https://bradspurgeon.com/worldwide-open-mic-thumbnail-guide/thumbnail-guide-to-tokyo-open-mics-jam-sessions-and-other-live-music/
Whether you play guitar, bass, piano, or drums (like myself), I think it would be an incredible, as well as hilarious experience to jam out with the Japanese! Hopefully it isn’t Bring Your Own Drum Set…