When Michio Imazato first heard Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue,” a record he checked out from the public library in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, he couldn’t have known he’d be leading his own quintet 10 years later in New York City. After all, he was a typical rock ‘n’ roll-loving high-school kid playing Deep Purple on his guitar.

“I played the record, I didn’t even know what it was, but my room just filled with colors,” he said in a recent interview. “I knew I wanted to express those kinds of feelings. The riffs are so simple, but there’s so much there.”

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