Jazz is a form of music that was born out of live performance, and fans in Japan are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to places to see jazz gigs.

With that blessing of choice, however, comes a catch. There's an argument that the jazz circuit these venues are a part of is a bit too insular and doesn't allow musicians to get their music out to a wider audience.

First, many of the venues are intimate — meaning pretty small. Playing to a sell-out crowd may mean a group of just 25-30 people. Add to that the fact that most of these small independently run venues have virtually no marketing budgets, so the audiences at these gigs will either be club regulars or die-hard fans of the artist.