Tokyo Report P.5: my only encounter with live music in Tokyo – Andy Bevan & STEWMAHN

Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi

It took me 42 days in Tokyo to meet Andy Bevan, an Australian Jazz musician who’s been living and playing music in Tokyo for a long, long, long time. I heard about him through a NY music colleague who’s a friend of him. During the 42 days I missed two gigs of him, but finally on the 42nd day I had the time to go to his show at the Saravah Tokyo club in Shibuya. To get to the club I took the subway, the Ginza line, from Asakusa to Shibuya, crossed the famous intersection in Shibuya and walked a couple of blocks north towards the Bunka Mura. However it took me some time to find the club. Even the Google map couldn’t help me out?! I had to use my inspiration and feeling to find the club.

When I was at the door of the club a sign told me that Andy was playing with Masaki Hayashi ‘s STEWMAHN: Masaki Hayashi on piano, who’s also the leader, Toru Nishijima on bass and violin, Akira Horikoshi on drums and my brother Andy Bevan on soprano and tenor sax, didgeridoo and various flutes.

The band played two sets. I enjoyed the first set more than the second one because all the songs in this set sounded different and told me different stories. The music combined many music styles: Japanese folklore, minimal-ambient-fusion jazz and new age music. I loved Andy’s didgeridoo contributions best. It stood out from the other instruments. Without the didgeridoo STEWMAHN wouldn’t have touched my heart. I was also impressed by Andy’s circular breathing on the didgeridoo, and how he transformed this simple instrument to a sophisticated one. If I need the didgeridoo for one of my recordings, I will definitely invite Andy to record with me.

After the show I did an improvised interviewed with Andy backstage. Unfortunately the lighting in the room wasn’t bright enough for my cheap digital camera. But who cares as Andy said himself after the interview: “It’s a all right, it’s not important how I look, it’s more important that people can hear what I said.”

In the interview he spoke about the club, his band, his music, his instruments, about his life in Tokyo, his struggle as a musician here and about the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster last year.

The Interview P.1 and P. 2

Andy’s Tokyo Groove Alliance Live @ Mandela (Tokyo) in 2012