The Tokyo Jazz Festival is a varied event, featuring artists of every age and from all corners of the globe. Yet, like most mainstream jazz festivals, the lineups can be somewhat middle of the road, inoffensively safe in a way that keeps more underground acts outside the castle walls.
One crew of misfits that has managed to get itself on the bill this year, however, is Britain's WorldService Project. This freaky quartet dips its big toe into the free jazz waters, peppering performances with a dose of psychedelia, all the while exuding a snarling DIY punk sensibility. Tokyo jazz-heads will get a chance to experience this brand of controlled anarchy when the band rocks the festival's outdoor Plaza stage on Sept. 4.
Keyboardist and mastermind of the collective Dave Morecroft has described his group's sounds as "a cage fight between Weather Report, Stravinsky, Meshuggah, Frank Zappa and Monty Python." It's an apt synopsis. Fans of Charles Mingus, the Battles and John Zorn will find a lot to like here, too. While the band's three studio albums are all recommended, there is an unpredictable madness to its music that makes its live performances a must-see.