theborneopost | Japanese Osaka Monaurail to perform at Borneo Jazz fest

KUCHING: Japanese jazz veteran Osaka Monaurail will be performing its ‘superheavy funk’ jazz at Borneo Jazz at ParkCity Everly in Miri this May 13 and 14.

From a humble beginning in Osaka University in 1992, Osaka Monaurail has gone from a large band of over 20 musicians, to a ten-person jazz machine, collaborating with soul/funk legend Marva Whitney, one of James Brown’s original Funky Divas, and producing two albums, three European tours and two Japanese tours before she passed away in 2012. They also collaborated with world- famous trombonist Fred Wesley in 2012.

After 20 years, the funkiest orchestra that Japan has to offer is still top of their game, with their sharp suits, dazzling display of brass twirls, and still bringing their ‘superheavy funk’ to their audience.

The group was named after the 1975 funk classic, ‘It’s The J.B.’s Monaurail’, and has kept the heavy James Brown-esque influence in their music over the years.

Osaka Monaurail is led by Ryo Nakata (vocals and keyboards), while Kentaro Yamagata and Teihei Awaji play the trumpets, Shimon Mukai (tenor saxophone); Dan Hayami and Yuichi Ikeda (guitars), Dai Nakamura (bass), Soki Kimura (drums).

This year marks the 12th edition of the Borneo Jazz festival and will feature international acts like Delgres from Guadeloupe/France, Laila Biali from Canada and Osaka Monaurail from Japan, along with local legends such as Fluoroscent Collective featuring local violinist Nisa Addina and Michael Simon’s Asian Connection, featuring legendary pianist Michael Veerapen.

The festival will be expanding its musical outreach programme, where aspiring musicians can learn the basics of Jazz Keyboard from professional musicians, by introducing additional classes for percussions.

It also includes night performances with sitting and dancing areas and a wide lawn for night picnics surrounded by arts, crafts and food stalls.