“Amphion presents…East meets West”

On the 16th of September 2019 – part of the Kawaguchi Jazz Festival – was a day full of superlatives ! Presented at the very beautiful Lilia Concert Hall, by virtuosic artists from New York, New Jersey, New Orleans + Tokyo, the audience were totally mesmerised by the sheer power of the entertainment. Amphion was proud to produce this event to show our support and commitment to music and musicians. The caliber of the performers was sensational, and we thank the members of both the Philip Woo Band (“East” 東) and Ty Stephens & the SoulJaazz (“West” 西) for this epic 2-Show performance !

Numerous Blues-Soul artists showed their pure talent and left the crowd mesmerised:

[L] Based in Tokyo, and originally from Seattle, USA, Philip Woo is a renowned Jazz, Soul, Blues, and Funk Keyboardist, Bandleader, Producer, and Composer. He has toured and recorded with so many of the world’s greatest entertainers: Roberta Flack, Whitney Houston, Kenny G, Grover Washington Jr., Cyndi Lauper, Roy Ayers, Ashford & Simpson, Patti LaBelle, Deborah Harry, Gladys Knight the Pips, The O’Jays, The Four Tops, Womack and Womack and many more. He has appeared on TV with Stevie Wonder, BB King, Curtis Mayfield, James Ingram, Nancy Wilson.

[C] A consummate multi-talented entertainer and performer, Ty Stephens, born and raised in Philadelphia, is an award-winning singer/songwriter and recording artist. He has performed around the world, gaining an international audience with a cool, urban-tinged adult-contemporary sound, based on jazz, funk and R&B. He has appeared on Broadway and Off-Broadway, and has recorded with industry legends Harry Belafonte, Peggi Lee, dance music icon Dan Hartmann, disco pioneer Nile Rogers, master drummer Baba Olatunji, renowned trumpeter Chuck Mangione, among others.

[R] Raised in a musical family, New Orleans based singer-songwriter-bassist Roland Guerin draws from a wide spectrum of genres, including American folk, blues, zydeco, rock and jazz. Over the course of his career, Guerin has toured and performed with numerous legendary musicians, such as George Benson, Jimmy Scott, Frank Morgan, Vernel Fournier, Gerry Mulligan, Allen Toussaint, John Scofield, Mark Whitfield, Ellis Marsalis, and Marcus Roberts. Guerin joined the Allen Toussaint Band in 2009, touring and performing with Toussaint until his passing in 2015. Later on, he became a music director for the Dr John Band.

[L] Richard A. Cummings is a graduate of the Juilliard Preparatory School of Music where he studied piano under the steadfast Russian pianist, Anna Shenderoff. In addition to the study of western European classics, he also became well versed in the many other ethnic musical forms into which he found himself daily immersed: Jazz of the 50’s and 60’s, Rhythm & Blues and Soul music, inspirational church choirs, and the rhythms of the Caribbean Islands, Cuba, and South America. His talents have been visited upon such luminary artists as: Noel Pointer, Jon Lucien, Harry Belafonte, Letta Mbulu, Dianne Reeves, Hugh Masekela, Wayne Shorter, Zubin Mehta, George C. Wolfe, Melvin Van Peebles, and a host of other performers.

[C] A native New Yorker, Leo Traversa has distinguished himself as a musician and educator. Press reviews have described him as “perfect in technique and brilliant in providing instrumental background”, “master of the 5-string bass”, and “without question, one of the top bassists”. He has performed and recorded with a wide range of internationally known artists including Michael Brecker, John Pizzare, The Birdland Big Band, Rubén Blades, Janis Seigel, Randy Brecker, Ben E. King, Astrud Gilberto, Joyce, Toninho Horta, Gerry Mulligan, The New York Voices, Oscar Hernandez, Phil Woods, Dianne Reeves Music, Fantcha, Bebel Gilberto, Herbie Mann, “Gato” Barbieri and Duduka Da Fonseca.

[R] Robert Rt Taylor is a truly gifted guitarist and songwriter from New Jersey, USA. He is also a bassist, vocalist, studio musician, and has recorded with Neyo, The Temptations, Janet Jackson, Rihanna, Beyoncé, LL Cool J, Ty Stephens, Jennifer Hudson, K. Michelle and many, many others.

[L] Guest Appearance by Singer/Songwriter Shanti Snyder – backed by the Philip Woo Band. Shanti has charted at #1 in the Japan with her most recent hit being a collaboration with Amphion.

[C] Ralph Rolle Drums – Drummer from The Bronx New York (Bronx River Projects), playing professionally from the age of 18yo, with almost 4 decades of experience within the music industry. He enjoys an illustrious career as a much-sought-after drummer, vocalist and producer. His performance and recording list include Nile Rodgers and Chic, Sting, Bono, Bette Midler, Roger Daltrey, Lady Gaga, Biggie Smalls, Aretha Franklin, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Larry Carlton, John Pizzarelli , Slash, Eric Benét, Erykah Badu, Toshinobu Kubota, D’Angelo, John Legend, Paul Simon, India Arie, Lillias White, Pheobe Snow and many more.

[R] Ashton Moore – Born and raised in Detroit USA, Ashton gained a healthy respect for traditional musicianship. Currently based in Japan, Ashton carries his passion for music with him. He performs regularly at prestigious venues such as the Body & Soul jazz club, The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, as well as International jazz festivals throughout Asia. In addition to being a singing-educator, Ashton is a professional recording artist and choir conductor.

[L] Hank Nishiyama – Originally from Akita, Japan but based for many years now in Tokyo, Hank is one of Japan’s live/studio super-guitarists in Blues, Soul, Jazz, and Funk.

[C] Roland Guerin – New Orleans bassist jams with guitar-great Robert Rt Taylor from New Jersey.

[R] Gerald Painia is a veteran drummer much in demand in studios and on stage, singer/songwriter. Originally from the USA, he calls Tokyo home.

[L] Post-encore photo of Ty Stephens & Soul Jaazz with Roland Guerin (2nd From left), followed by MCs Michiyo Kitagawa and StuartO, and Amphion Event Producer on stage at the Lilia Concert Hall.

[C] With thanks to Ken Ito and the Kawaguchi Festival Committee 2019, the fabulous MCs – StuartO and Michiyo Kitagawa, Nick Clegg – SoundFactory, Producer’s Assistant Ayumi Kikuchi, and the staff and audience of Lilia Hall.

[R] The Philip Woo Band – based in Greater-Tokyo – is one of the funkiest music units in Japan. From L-R: Hank Nishiyama, Gerald Painia, ( Roland Guerin -Guest), Philip Woo, ( Shanti Snyder – Guest), (Amphion APAC), Harumo Imai, Zak Croxall, and Ashton Moore.

Photo Credits: Kousuke Funaya & Hiroaki Nagino