💦 So What 💦

In-F Livehouse, 1 May 2007 💦

This Mizuoka Nobuyuki Group May Day performance of “So What” still fascinates and entertains me some 14 years after the event took place. It obviously has much to do with the carefree synergy the players display. Equally important, though, is the fact that this recording represents a far superior arrangement to the famous original by the great Miles Davis!

🦀 🐋 🦑 🐠 🐳 🐡 💦

Up until the day of this gig, I’d been a stranger to most of the Miles Davis catalogue, including the venerable “So What.” Enthralled by the local trio’s performance, I was eager to look up the savage-but-civilized ‘jazz standard’ on the Internet.

Being so famous, the title was easy enough to locate, all right . . . . And when I pressed “Play” to have my first listen . . . . It was like . . . . Hmmm . . . . What’s this dreary droning going on?!?  I was a little taken aback. By a minute into the clip, the entire concoction sounded . . . . well,

bleak   and   boring . . . . 😮 😵 😴 💤

I wasn’t at all jazzed by that great jazz number. What did I have to compare it with? A uniquely rip-roaring, Made In Japan live gig that I’d witnessed just a few hours before! 🇯🇵 💦  So what that I don’t like the original “So What” whatsoever. Kind of Blue* is kind of an understatement too, if you ask me. That’s just my amateur opinion, of course. 😑✌️💦

Nevertheless, I’d long hoped to make my own standalone video of “So What,” since I admire this local performance so much. And for a while I’d been fixated on finding a means to marine-theme the project. Online research eventually led me to a cheap-enough, bare-bones conversion app that could output the kind of underwater effect I was after. This videoclip that I made with that software was obviously stylized quite a few years ago — and the simple tech I used back then was soon trampled to death in the stampede of developers who launched the CGI Revolution that offers all of the cool tools we find around today.

💦 🦭  Piano:  Nobuyuki Mizuoka  🦭 💦
💦 🐋  Bass:  Tsuyoshi Nakayama  🐋 💦
💦 🦀  Drums:  Naoya Numa  🦀 💦

💦 🦀 🐋 🦑 🐠 🐳 🦐 🐡 💦

Part of what’s so entertaining to me about the above live clip is that the high energy, slick switchings and unique touches are delivered by musicians who each remain rather monk-like throughout. As the song moves along, you can hear how their collective monk-power is ramping up; I’m sure you’ll get what I mean. Most likely you’ll also detect the spiritual pinnacle point when they reach it — before they merge together for their full-on descent to a soulful, smooth-jazz landing.

For many of the years that I’ve enjoyed this “So What” rendition, I felt an irrepressible urge at that aural pinnacle to jump up out of my chair! I’ve wondered why, and I can only surmise that it’s some form of soul euphoria . . . . 🧜🏻‍♀️🌿🎋

Once I attempted to explain this strange physical phenomenon to a singer friend of mine. She had no particular insight to offer about it, but she hoped somewhat wistfully that she’d mesmerize an audience the same way too, someday. 😇🎶💦

Can you detect in the audio that jump-up activator? I’ll leave it to you to find. Go ahead, dive in! 💦 🇯🇵

*The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified “Kind of Blue” as quadruple platinum, and it became the best-selling jazz album of all time. Apparently, in December 2009 the United States House of Representatives voted 409–0 to pass a resolution honoring “Kind of Blue” as a national treasure.

Nobuyuki Mizuoka Official Website
Mizuoka Nobuyuki Group on Youtube

The unique melodies of Composer-Pianist Nobuyuki Mizuoka are routinely featured in the background music of the TV-Asahi Channel’s 秘湯ロマン (“Hitou Roman”— Hidden Hot Spring Romance) program in Japan. “Hitou Roman” was profiled in Yahoo News Japan in October 2018, the program’s 20th Anniversary Year:  https://tinyurl.com/yb6xpa52