Dec 2

Justin’s Japan: Kyogen, J-MUSIC Ensemble, Shunzo Ohno, Video Games Live

A Night of Kyogen with Mansaku Nomura and Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company comes to Japan Society Dec. 10-12. (Shinji Masakawa)

A Night of Kyogen with Mansaku Nomura and Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company comes to Japan Society Dec. 10-12. (Shinji Masakawa)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

With Thanksgiving (and the hopes of sensible eating) now just a memory, we turn to colder weather, falling snow, and the new year to come. Fortunately for Japanese culture fans, December is just as busy as the holiday season itself. Whether you’re hosting guests from out of town or looking to squeeze in an event or two in between parties, we’ve got you covered.

This month’s highlights include:

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 10:00 p.m.

Gene Ess & Fractal Attraction

Club Bonafide, 212 East 52nd Street


Fresh off the heels of their 2015 SESAC Award-winning album Eternal Monomyth, Gene Ess and Fractal Attraction have been solidifying themselves as one of New York’s premiere collectives featuring original material that explores the use of the voice as an instrument in a chamber group setting. Eternal Monomyth is the riveting companion piece to Fractal Attraction, which was the winner of the SESAC Outstanding Jazz Award in 2010 and peaked at number 3 on the jazz radio charts. Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Ess grew up on a United States Air Force Base on Okinawa. He has performed with Carlos Santana, Archie Shepp, Matt Garrison, Reggie Workman, Ravi Coltrane, and Dave Liebman.

Dec. 10-12, 7:30 p.m.

A Night of Kyogen with Mansaku Nomura and Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$55-$85, $45-$75 Japan Society members

Living National Treasure Mansaku Nomura, together with illustrious members of the Mansaku-no-Kai Kyogen Company, including Mansaku’s son star of stage/film/TV Mansai Nomura and practiced performer Yukio Ishida, return to Japan Society to offers a special evening of kyogen, Japan’s traditional comedic theater that satirizes and embraces human imperfection. Centering around Mansaku’s virtuosic performance of the vigorous solo piece Nasu no Yoichi, based on a serious episode from The Tale of the Heike, the program also includes the dynamic Akutaro, starring Mansai, about a troublemakers unexpected journey to repentance and the popular play Bonsan, which follows a foolish thief with a penchant for bonsai trees. With English supertitles. The Thursday, November 10 performance is followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception for ticket holders.

Friday, Dec. 11, 11:00 p.m.

Racha Fora

Club Bonafide, 212 East 52nd Street


Racha Fora was formed in 2010 originally as a quartet by two Japanese and two Brazilians in Boston. Racha Fora issued its debut album in 2012, which was focused on group flutist Hiroaki Honshuku’s compositions, and embarked on a tour of Japan, which became an annual affair. They just released their second album from the JazzTokyo label, Racha S’Miles: Racha Fora’s Tribute to Miles, in which Miles Davis standards from the 1950s and 1960s are reborn in the 21st century featuring NEA Jazz Master (and key saxophonist for Davis in the 1970s), Dave Liebman. This intimate late night set features special guest Donny McCaslin on sax.

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