When you think about a so-called jazz capital of Japan, there are a couple of contenders. Kobe makes a claim to history, the first Japanese jazz band Laughing Stars started up there around 90 years ago. Tokyo has the overseas stars, being the actual capital gets you that kind of clout. Yokohama also has a case, with this weekend's Yokohama Jazz Promenade claiming to be one of the biggest jazz events in the country.

"The great thing about Yokohama," says pianist Hakuei Kim, "is that there are so many different jazz clubs, especially in the Kannai area. In a way, each club specializes in certain styles of jazz from the traditional to the avant-garde and beyond."

This heavy concentration of jazz venues and a desire to have an event that would turn the entire city into a stage led to the establishment of the Promenade in 1993.