Waon

Waon is a circle of harmonic notes. I wanted to create Japanese influenced Western music using beautiful Japanese traditional instruments and melodies. I started thinking that this is my way to repay and show gratitude to music…by making a CD and giving it to friends and family as a token and evidence of my life.

Peter Erskine (Drums)
Alan Pasqua (Piano)
Damian Erskine (Bass)
Tiger Okosh (Trumpet. F.Hr)
木原朋子(箏)
菅原久仁義(尺八)
Nori Tani (Flute)
Paul Cartwright (1st Violin)
Ina Veli (2nd Violin)
Lauren Baba (Viola)
Artyom Manukyan (Cello)
Hiro Morozumi (Piano)
Jim Thompson (Shakuhachi)

I have been pursuing Big Band Jazz since a young age.  I transcribed and arranged many works of Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones.  I have my own Jazz Orchestra called “The Mercer hassy Orchestra” in Sapporo, Japan.

I was transcribing about 10 tunes every month when I was 20.  While I was doing that, many ideas came into my head. I wanted to create Japanese influenced Western music using beautiful Japanese traditional instruments and melodies.  I started thinking that this is my way to repay and show gratitude to music...by making a CD and giving it to friends and family as a token and evidence of my life.

I started writing about the four seasons of Japan.  When I finished writing Spring, Summer, and Autumn, my former band member Nori, who lives in Los Angeles, called me.  From that phone call, began a miracle of music! Nori is a friend of Peter Erskine’s, so he sent the three songs to Peter to see if he would be interested doing the recording.  Peter loved it!

Peter helped me to get top musicians on the West Coast.  My spiritual teacher, Tiger Okoshi, played some solos and also came to L.A. for mixing.  I was a little concerned about finding a Koto player but Tomoko Kihara, who played the C.U.G. Jazz Orchestra, did a great job on all of the songs with her wonderful technique and rhythm.  Almost all of her tunes were done on the first take. My college friend introduced me to Mr. Kuniyoshi Sugawara, who’s one of the best Shakuhachi players in Japan.

The Mixing and Mastering engineer is Nori’s best friend, Maurice Gainen, who studied jazz at Berklee College of Music.  He has recorded, mixed, and mastered many top West Coast and international musicians at his studio in Hollywood.

Thanks to Peter-san who thinks he was Japanese in a previous life and his wife Mutsy-san.  The beautiful cover art was done by Rie Okabayashi-san. I believe that everything is connected with the circle of music.  This album was born from my longtime friendship with Nori. Thanks Nori!

The story of this album starts from Summer.  I hope you will enjoy it.

Recorded by Talley Sherwood at Tritone Recording, Glendale, CA
Recorded by Naonori Sakamoto at Geimori Recording Studio, Sapporo
(Tracks 1-5,8,9,11-14)
Recorded by Matthew Beaudoin at Q Division Studios, Somerville, MA
(2,3,7,8,14)
Recorded by Maurice Gainen at Puck Productions, Santa Monica, CA
(2,5,9,13)

Cover Art & Title Graphic by Rie Okabayashi

Mixed & Mastering by Maurice Gainen & Tiger Okoshi

Co-Produced by Tiger Okoshi & Nori Tani

Year Released: 2018
Mercer Hassy Records