Asagaya Jazz Streets, one of the best-loved jazz festivals in Tokyo, turns 15 this year. For two days, Oct. 23-24, neighborhood venues and concert halls are commandeered to host a who’s who of Tokyo jazz players. The event began as humble neighborhood promotion, but now 20 local clubs are in on the festivities, highlighting a plethora of jazz talent in intimate settings. The event features street performances — guerrilla and officially sanctioned — by student groups, amateur Dixieland bands, buskers and indefinable pickup ensembles, all centered around JR Asagaya Station. Friday night kicks of with 20 different performances in public venues, including the Mike Price Jazz Quintet and The Latin Jazz Clan.
One of the opening-night highlights is Yosuke Yamashita, one of Japan’s most-renowned jazz keyboardists. From his roots in the 1960s free-jazz movement, he’s had a long history of collaborations with world-class musicians of many different stripes. He performs twice on Friday, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., on the grounds of the Shimei Shrine.