Tokyo Tracks 001: Copa Salvo – Wave & Imperador Do Samba (Plant/RD Records)
November 13, 2009
I’m sitting in a jazz café, or jazz kissa, at the junction of a four-lane highway about five minutes away from my kids’ sports (taiso) club. Sneaking in a coffee while they vault boxes and dodge ball. Seems a pity to drown the jazz out. Sometimes I pop in here in the morning and it’s melancholic covers of standards and suicide-inducing lounge versions of pop classics. Catering to the mums taking solace in stimulants after the school run and before the next round of chores. Now, in the afternoons, it’s office workers on the skive and students asleep in their books to a soundtrack of Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. I guess if the owner could see me put my ear-pieces in he’d be offended. But the writing’s got to be done somewhere. And I can’t write without listening. Someone who meant a lot to me once said music is fuel.
I hear a Latin piano line full of the urgency of life. Understood by Mayday and Morrisey alike. Flamenco. Not the Gipsy Kings, but Pigbag doing over Paco De Lucia. A melodica carrying on like Lee Oskar’s trancendentary blues harp or Astor Piazzolla’s accordion. With a story to tell. A busy town square. 3 AM. The air thick with the promise of fighting and fucking. Sips of gut-rotting espresso while a Dexy-driven bordello band cynically play for a clientele for whom they are merely an accompaniment to the transactions being made. Their slept-in suits and blackened eyes privy to a thousand stories every night. Whores dance, drink and hitch up their skirts amid shouts of encouragement and cash changing hands. I’m back walking through the Old Town practically too drunk to stand, trying to hold onto something that has already gone.
Time, she goes by like a wave.
Copa Salvo: Wave
Copa Salvo: Imperador Do Samba