T. Honda

What’s Going On

Jazz Room • 1973

Throughout his life, Takehiro Honda was one of the defining figures of the Japanese jazz scene. Hardly anyone in Japan could hold a candle to him whether as a composer, arranger and pianist. But Honda-San was also sought after and popular worldwide as, for example proven by his album featuring the recently deceased German saxophonist Gerd Dudek. T. Honda was certainly not one to be short-sighted and kept a constant eye on what was happening in America and Europe – even during the times when the J-Jazz scene was disconnected from the global hub. This made him all the more enthusiastic about the funk and soul jazz wave that swept through America at the end of the sixties and beginning of the seventies. It is no coincidence that the now re-released 1973 album is titled »What’s Going On«, which of course refers to the Marvin Gaye classic from 1971. In the interpretation of the Japanese professional, the anthem of the civil rights movement becomes a big band ballad with moments of dialogue between piano and wind instruments. The other instrumental versions of hits like Otis Redding’s »Sitting on a Dock« also convince with witty examinations of the original material; the vocal passages are mostly translated into loose piano ideas. More than anything else, this sounds like the soundtrack from a BBC film that was never made. Library qualities meet charm, and the odd riff to be sampled is also included. Insider tip.