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Osaka Monaurail - JPop.com
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Osaka Monaurail

Osaka Monaurail

Osaka Monaurail


After two decades, the wheels are very much still turning for Japan's premiere Funk orchestra, which has grown from a university combo to one of the world’s leading group in the genre. Nine musicians on stage in sharp uniforms inspired by 60s fashion; trumpets are spinning in the air; leader Nakata dancing “Mashed Potato”; from jumpin’ Bebop instrumentals to James Brown funky dancers. Osaka Monaurail just celebrated their 20th anniversary by touring many cities in Japan Read more on Last.fm
After two decades, the wheels are very much still turning for Japan's premiere Funk orchestra, which has grown from a university combo to one of the world’s leading group in the genre. Nine musicians on stage in sharp uniforms inspired by 60s fashion; trumpets are spinning in the air; leader Nakata dancing “Mashed Potato”; from jumpin’ Bebop instrumentals to James Brown funky dancers. Osaka Monaurail just celebrated their 20th anniversary by touring many cities in Japan, Europe, Canada and Australia, appearing at top venues, nightclubs and festivals including the Montreal International Jazz Festival (July 2012) and many others. Formed in 1992, all members were from the same Jazz society at Osaka University (Osaka, Japan). Nakata recalls, "I was 19. We were having fun playing/learning Jazz.

Our team was known as the best university/college band when it comes to playing Count Basie tunes. I was a trumpet player. But, I dropped out because I couldn't play high notes. I finally gave up on the trumpet, my second love (with piano being the first), and decided to do what I've wanted to do ever since I was 16, which was to start a Funk band." The group was named after the Funk classic, "It's The J.B.’s Monaurail" by the J.B.'s (misspelling intentional.) It originally featured more than 20 people including several horn players, but soon the band was cut down to a 13 piece group.

After a couple of university gigs, they started playing local bars & nightclubs in Osaka around 1994-1995. Signed to RD Records in 1999, OM released their first album “What it is – What it was” (2000) followed by nine albums: three more albums on RD Records (signed until 2005); four albums on P-Vine Records (signed 2006-2009); and the latest "State Of The World" on King Records (2011–present). In Europe, the last three albums are available on Unique Records (Dusseldorf, Germany). In the summer of 2006, Osaka Monaurail toured six cities in Japan as backing band for a Soul/Funk legend, Marva Whitney, known as one of the James Brown's original Funky Divas. Her hits include many Funk classics such as “It's My Thing”, “Unwind Yourself” and “Sunny” (duet with Mr. JB).

This partnership became arguably one of the most exciting collaborations in Funk today and left two albums “I Am What I Am” and "Live In Japan", three European tours and two Japanese tours. Marva Whitney passed away December 22, 2012. In November 2012, Osaka Monaurail played a show with the great Fred Wesley, the world's funkiest trombonist, best known for his work with James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic and the Count Basie Orchestra. It was an one night only show with OM as a backing band playing more than a dozen of Fred Wesley songs. Nakata runs his Shout! Productions label and continues to contribute to the Soul/Funk history. It has been responsible for: reissuing a string of Soul/Funk albums; releasing movies "Superfly" (1972), "Coffy" (1973) and a few more theatrically; subtitling “Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song” (1971), “Badasssss” (2004) and “Soul Power” (2009); most recently releasing “Edification of Weldon Irvine” (1976) on DVD. After all, as Nakata says, "...the Japanese kids' long journey of learning how to play Funk never ends". The current lineup is: Ryo Nakata (vocal/keyboards/percussions); Kentaro Yamagata & Yohchi Masago (trumpets); Shimon Mukai (tenor saxophone); Katsutoshi Hiraishi (trombone); Dan Hayami & Yuichi Ikeda (guitars); Dai Nakamura (bass); Soki Kimura (drums).

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