Pianist Ai Kuwabara is waxing nostalgic at the offices of her record label, East Works Entertainment, in Tokyo's Minato Ward.

"I first went to Tokyo Jazz Festival at the International Forum when I was in the fifth or sixth grade of elementary school, and I'll never forget the impression it made on me."

"At that time I was playing the electone at the Yamaha Music School and got to perform at some venues around the city," she recalls. "But I could never get the International Forum out of my head and decided that I just had to play there one day, and I've been building toward that ever since."