Our Town Yokohama
Sax Players in Front of Yokohama Station
The areas around major train stations are a good place to catch a bit of music in the evening. Rock groups predominate, and a Friday night may see several taking turns performing while hoping to pick up some small change or even to catch the ear of a manager or record company scout. Frequently there’s someone with a guitar and a need to wail, but there are also accomplished musicians who for some reason are short of places to perform. We’ve run into jazz quartets more than once, and the popularity of Latin American music has made the sight of poncho-clad musicians not unusual. I think my favorite so far is a hammer dulcimer player, who had set up the stand for his instrument and was whanging away at it with great concentration and verve. (I associate the hammer dulcimer with Taiwanese temple orchestras as well as celtic music; it’s the ancestral piano, sans keyboard.) But the most astonishing was a trombone quartet playing, if I recall correctly, something by Handel. They were performing in broad daylight near the edge of the sidewalk, right beside all the taxi and bus traffic, but had no trouble being heard over the engine noise. Some of the rock groups seem to come with their own claques; the trombonists collected a crowd as we watched through sheer amazement at what they were doing.
The saxophone quartet shown here was also a treat—how often do we get to hear soprano, alto, baritone, and bass sax together? They were performing in a spot favored by musicians at Yokohama Station, under the deep overhang in front of the Takashimaya department store, on June 3, 2006.
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