Watch Out for the Tokyo-Manila Jazz and Arts Festival: A Benefit Concert for a New DRRM Project

The U.P. Vanguard, Inc. is livestreaming the Tokyo-Manila Jazz and Arts Festival to showcase the talents of young Japanese and Filipino artists, act as a cultural link between the Philippine and Japan through a common appreciation of jazz, and serve as a reintroduction to the public of a prime advocacy of the U.P. Vanguard, the UP and READY Program.

Tokyo-Manila Jazz and Arts Festival was first held in Shibuya, Tokyo on May 18, 2012. This festival, in coordination with The Philippine Embassy in Japan and Because We Care group, focuses on the cultural exchange and artistic communication between Japan and the Philippines. Aimed for the cultivation of young talented artists who will be given the opportunity to take part in the mainstream performances with professional musicians and artists. A big part of our goal is to create music scholarship funds, providing equipment and educational support.

The UP and READY Program is the U.P. Vanguard’s disaster resiliency and response initiative. It involves research to improve current disaster resiliency, response and management practices, and teaches the skills and mindset to individuals to be better prepared to survive a disaster. The program advocates towards the spreading of information and providing free training towards disaster resilience.

Tokyo-Manila Jazz and Arts Festival: A Benefit Concert for a New DRRM Project

Presented by:

UP Vanguard, Inc.

In cooperation with:

Fortun Narvasa & Salazar Law Offices
UP Vanguard Class of 1978

Also brought to you by:

Jordanbros Windows & Windows, Inc.
Web Focus Solutions, Inc.
TeaM Energy Corporation
UP Vanguard Class of 1977
UP Vanguard Class Silangan of 1983

Special thanks to:

Globe Telecom, Inc.
CBK Power Company Limited
UP Vanguard Class Dagitab of 1982
UP Vanguard Class Maginoo of 1986
UP Vanguard Class Buhawi of 1990
UP Vanguard Class Hinirang of 1992
UP Vanguard Class of 1994
UP Vanguard Class of 2014

UPVI also thanks the following sponsors:

Angara Abello Conception Regala & Cruz Law Offices
InvestPhil Realty and Development Corporation
UP Vanguard Class Banaag of 1981
UP Vanguard Class Sulo of 1987

UPVI also recognizes the following sponsors:

Philippine Veterans Affairs Office
The Lewis College, Inc.
Quisumbing Torres
Vgd. Deo Orpilla ‘92 and Family

The Artists

One of the most outstanding and prominent jazz vocalists in Japan, Charito has achieved global recognition with her voice, expression, and musical artistry.

Her albums “Non Stop to Brazil” (2004) and “Nica’s Dream” (2006) featured acclaimed works with Ivan Lins and the Manhattan Jazz Orchestra, respectively. Both albums have been awarded the grand prize in the Vocal category of the Jazz Disc Awards as hosted by the prestigious Japanese jazz magazine Swing Journal. She also released the albums “Watch What Happens” (2008) in special collaboration with French movie maestro Michel Legrand and “Heal The World – Charito sings Michael Jackson” 2010, a collaboration with producer Harvey Mason and ”Affair To Remember” (2012), a collection of timeless love ballads. Her latest album is American GOLD Standards (October 2016) with super trio Tamir Hendelman, Jeff Clayton and John Hamilton. Charito’s latest album “When Summer Comes” was recently released on January 20, 2021. Created with the aim of encouraging all those affected by the Covid 19 pandemic!

Aside from her professional and successful music career, Charito acts as the founder of nonprofit group, Because We Care, that is dedicated in spearheading and supporting various charity works focused on helping children in need in both Japan the Philippines. In 2012, she also founded the Tokyo-Manila Jazz and Arts Festival (TMJAF) – the biggest assembly of Japanese and Filipino jazz artists to celebrate 80 years of music and cultural connections. Now on its 5th year, TMJAF continues to contribute to young musicians‟ education and international cultural exchange through music in both countries. 

”The first time I heard CHARITO, I physically and emotionally embraced her and thought myself beautiful, that came from the heart and the soul. She has a warm way of presenting a song and she represents what a singer really is, a song stylist.” ~  Nancy Wilson 1990

Born in Tokyo in 1961. He started learning the piano at the age of 3 and listened to the performance of jazz pianist Oscar Peterson at the age of 12, and after being fascinated by Jazz, he began to study by himself. After graduating from the English Department of Tamagawa University in 1983, he went to the United States and studied piano, composition and arrangement at Berklee College of Music. He received the Hank Jones Award and the Duke Ellington Award as a pianist / arranger while attending school.

After graduating in 1986, he taught as an assistant professor in the piano department at Berklee College of Music. In the same year, with the production of his first leader album “Bitter Life of Scarecrow”, he continued to produce and perform as a pianist / arranger / composer with numerous artists and jazz groups in the United States and abroad. His delicate and imaginative solos and arrangements have been well received by The Boston Globe and Boston Herald.

[Boston Herald, “Yuki Arimasa is a sensitive accompanist and expressive, imaginative soloist”,]

[Boston Globe, “Arimasa ’s arrangement received the strongest applause”.]

Returned to Japan in 1996 after living in the United States for 15 years.

He formed the Yuki Arimasa trio consisting of Dairiki Hara (Drums) and Yasuhiko Sato (Bass) and announced “Tell Me Where The Music Is”. Since then, he has participated in the album production of many Japanese jazz artists as a music producer / arranger. In recent years, he has been working on various expressions such as solo piano and duet. Released a solo album “Forest” in 2011. Started a duet project with TPT Tomonao Hara in 2012, and released the original work collection “Vol.One” and the standard collection “The Days of Wine and Roses”. In 2016, he released a solo album “Dimensions” using classical music as a material for improvisation, pursuing the possibility of improvisation in a wide range of music genres. His latest work is a duo album “Nightmarish Paradise” with guitarist Ryo Ogihara. Since 2000, he has opened a jazz solfege as a professor of the jazz course at Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, and has also held a jazz course for elementary school students sponsored by the Yokohama Arts and Culture Foundation. In 2016, he established Artist Green, a general incorporated association, to start activities as a corporation involved in art promotion such as communication between musicians in each country and workshops for educational purposes. Since then, he has been focusing on training younger generations, such as educational jazz festival, music production of “Wa Meets Jazz”, workshops / concerts in Manila and Taipei, and judges of Montreux Jazz in Kawasaki and jazz competitions in Singapore.

Yuya Wakai is one of the most imaginative and promising jazz pianists of his generation. Yuya started studying classical piano at age 3 and composition at age 6, performing his own pieces in Japan, the United States, and Germany in early childhood. Listening to John
Coltrane’s masterpiece “A Love Supreme” at age 18 changed Yuya’s musical direction forever. At the same time, Yuya entered the University of Tokyo to major in Applied Mathematics, which remains one of his other

However before graduating Yuya found himself receiving offers to perform all throughout Japan. At the age of 24,
Yuya released his first album “Ghibli in Happy Forest”. Since then Yuya has released 5 more albums: “Ghibli in Happy Dream” (2011), “Piano Jazz The Beatles” (2012),
“Images” (2013), “Kamikyokyu Jazz” (2016). Yuya’s next album will be released in April, 2019.

To date, Yuya has worked with several leading jazz musicians, including Ron Carter, Buster Williams, Al Foster, and Lewis Nash, and has performed in Japan, Hong Kong,
South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Kengo was born in Osaka, Japan. He learned the classical guitar at the early age of twelve. He switched to the electric bass when he became seventeen years old. In 1988, he studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston and he took lessons from Mr. Whit Browne

The acoustic sounds inspired Kengo then he began taking the acoustic bass seriously at that time. Later, he played at Wally’s Jazz club with young lions including Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart and Anthony Wonsey. He was awarded the John Neves Memorial scholarship in recognition of outstanding musicianship from Berklee College of Music.

In 1991, Kengo moved to New York City to begin his professional career as a musician. Soon there after, his glowing reputation preceded him and was in great demand from some of New York Jazz music’s leading lights. He performed with Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Mal Waldron, Cyrus Chestnut, Marcus Printup, Sadao Watanabe, Makoto Ozone, and Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson.

His first performance with Lincoln center Jazz for young people concert series, directed by Wynton Marsalis was in 1996. In 1997, he performed at President summit as a member of Wynton Marsalis Quartet. Since March 1998 through January of 2000, he had been performing in the Cyrus Chestnut Trio. And also Kengo toured with Wynton Marsalis Septet in 2001 and he performed “Live at the House of Tribes” CD with Wynton Marsalis Quartet. Kengo recorded his debut album “Divine” was released from Verve in February 2001. Since the release of “Divine”, he has been chosen three years consecutively from the reader’s poll of the Swing Journal magazine as the number one Japanese Jazz bass player. As a composer/arranger, Swing Journal magazines reader’s poll has chosen him in the top ten.

One of the most versatile, the most creative, and hardswinging jazz bass virtuoso in Japan. He has played with all generations, various style of musicians.

Also active in his own leader band, mainly in Tokyo. He also supports many overseas musicians’ performances in Japan.

He is also a lecturer at the Hot Music School and Iida Jazz School, focusing on training younger generations, such as holding workshops in various places.

He has been known as the last bassist of Fumio Karashima, a legendary pianist who played in Elvin Jones’ Jazz Machine.

Also currently works with a lot of vocalists including CHARITO, TOKU, Kimiko Ito and Geila Zilkha.

An international solo artist who also has the distinction of becoming the rhythmic linchpin of some of the classic contemporary jazz line-ups from the late 1980s onwards – notably sharing bandstands with Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland and Wayne Shorter – drummer, composer and arranger Gene Jackson needs little introduction to audiences the world over. His panoplied collaborations also include the names of Art Farmer, Christian McBride, Dianne Reeves, Kevin Eubanks, Eddie Gomez and Hugh Masekela, and he has enjoyed more than a decade imaginatively reinterpreting gems from our jazz heritage both on record and in concert with the popular New York Standards Quartet.

Berklee-educated for five years, Jackson rubbed shoulders there with the likes of Walter Beasley, Branford Marsalis, Terri Lyne Carrington and Jeff “Tain” Watts, and it was guitarist Kevin Eubanks who brought him to New York – a move which would be pivotal in his early professional career. Working also with trombonist Robin Eubanks helped to immerse the drummer in the new vibe of the city’s jazz, embracing and merging odd meters and innovatory elements without compromising swing and tradition. At that time, Jackson’s musical circle included names which are now familiarly woven into the scene’s rich tapestry – Terence Blanchard, Jean Toussaint, Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, Anthony Cox, Lonnie Plaxico, Mulgrew Miller and Steve Coleman. Both touring and recording with pianist Michele Rosewoman, who focused on Afro-Cuban elements from the African Yoruba traditions, was hugely influential, introducing the drummer to Eddie Bobea, Orlando “Puntilla” Rios, Steve Berrios, Pedrito Martinez and others.

Lifelong connections continued to intertwine, meeting up with Billy Childs as they toured together with Branford Marsalis (the pianist subbing for Kenny Kirkland and Jackson for his good friend Jeff “Tain” Watts). Childs’ dual gift for 20th Century classical and jazz composition proved a great inspiration for Jackson, and as well as gigging together, they recorded an album with Joe Locke and Eddie Gomez.

1991 saw Jackson’s first tour with the Herbie Hancock/Wayne Shorter Quartet – a transformative experience which elevated him to command the drum stool in Herbie Hancock’s evolving trio and quartet projects, consistently touring across the globe from 1993–2000 (“I had the honor of witnessing this magic night after night for years…”). The resulting association with Dave Holland also saw him become integrated into the illustrious bassist’s own band, together pushing the boundaries of tradition. Since the early noughties, he has toured with pianist Orrin Evans, whose determination to respect the swing, yet move the music eloquently to the future, has been endlessly stimulating. It has been Jackson’s great honor, more recently, to tour and record with Charles Tolliver – the last of the heroes of the golden days of jazz – and his big band; and his colleagues there have included Billy Harper, Rufus Reid, Kurt Lightsey, Stanley Cowell, Ronne Mathews and Dwayne Burno. He has also recorded and toured with German saxophonist Christof Lauer, the NDR Big Band, the Mingus Big Band, and performs with Trio of Liberty, Mayuko Katakura Trio, Raymond McMorrin Quartet and Ondrej Stveracek’s Quartet.

Influenced from an early age by artists including Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams, Gene Jackson proudly shares his knowledge with the next generation of musicians, currently a visiting Professor at Tokyo’s Senzoku Gakuen College of Music; and he has been teacher in rotation at Prins Claus Conservatorium in the Netherlands – part of bassist Joris Teepe’s ‘New York Comes to Groningen’ program. The drummer is active in Japan, Europe and the United States with tours, recordings and workshops; and he revels in his educational role, affirming how rewarding that can be, “especially when I help the student see that many of the answers they look for are in themselves”. Along a timeline glinting with highlight after highlight, Gene Jackson is emphatically rooted in music history… and continues to blaze a trail with unerring passion.

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