Native is a four piece Jazz Band formed in 1999 by the talented and well trained Jazz musicians Tomoyoshi Nakamura (Saxophones, Flute), Kenichi Ohkubo (Bass) Yoshitaka Yamashita (Drums) and Taichi Sugimaru (Piano)
“Prussian Blue” is a colourful album and features many outstanding songs. There is the light swinging number “The Secret Language” featuring the swedish diva Cecilia Stalin on vocals who achieved critical acclaim after her performance on “Waltz for Koop”. The title track “Prussian Blue” is a thrilling fourbeat hard bop song which has already been airplayed by Gilles Peterson on his „worldwide“ radio show and it has been reworked by Nicola Conte for 12” single format. There is the catchy and dramatic Jazz samba entitled “Beyond The Border”, the Latin flavoured Hard Bop tune “Step it!” and the beat-driven cool soprano sax number “4 Corners”.
They have built a reputation in the Japanese Jazz & Club music scene, and their fans are coming from different backgrounds and age groups. Their highly acclaimed debut album "Snobbism” and the 2nd full album “intentions” generated impressive sales and entered the Modern Jazz charts alongside other well-established Jazz artists in Japan.
The sound of Native is an open minded interpreation of classic Acoustic Jazz, and their music features many memorable melodies alongside delicate interplay between drum and bass.
Native have played more than 100 gigs on the streets of Japan every year and travelled the country in a van to give people an opportunity to experience their music. Their shows are magnetic and helped to make them one of the most succesfull contemporary Jazz bands in Japan, as well as one of the leading new voices in Japanese Jazz. Their music is influenced by European Jazz, which is colourfull but doesn't fade away.
About the title ”Prussian Blue”
Prussian blue is the name of a colour created in Germany in the early 18th century. Before it was invented, there were only a limited amount of blue tones available for painters. Prussian blue was also used in creating Japanese woodblock prints known as “Ukiyo-e”. In the 17th century, blue colour was being made from Lapis lazuli stones and due to this it was as expensive as jewelry. Nevertheless, blue colour was essential for masters of all arts.
But what is the connection between this special colour and the second album by the Japanes Jazz band native? During the production of this album Kenichi Okubo- the bass player of native- watched a TV documentary on Prussian Blue and got fascinated with the background story of this colour:
“Prussian blue astonished the great Hokusai Katsushika in the late Edo period. He used Prussian Blue for many of his masterpieces, most notably “Red Fuji” from the series “36 Views Of Mount Fuji” where this specific tone of blue creates a beautiful effect. These Ukiyo-e works also inspired many western masters like Vincent van Gogh, Renoir or Monet and changed the world history of art forever.” (Bi no Kyojintachi, TV Documentary)
“Prussian blue had an almost magical effect when used by a genius painter, and this particular shade of blue obsessed many artists who favoured it over all the other available colours. But it was also called “dangerous blue”, because when mixed with another colour such as yellow or red it could easily ruin the result. Renoir knew about this dangerous effect and warned his fellow artisans about Prussian blue.” (Bi no Kyojintachi, TV Documentary)
“I feel attracted to the story of Prussian Blue, how it was created and became one of the most important tools of master artists in the world. There is a certain similarity between this colour and my band Native, as I hope our music is as vivid and hopefully won't fade away during the course of time.” (Kenichi Okubo)