If not for a few twists of fate, June Yamagishi may not have ended up in New Orleans.

In 1975, Yamagishi left Japan for a two-week trip to the West Coast of the United States, his first visit to the country. At the time, his music career was taking off. Three years earlier in 1972, he joined the West Road Blues Band as a guitarist at the age of 19 and, in September of that year, the band opened for B.B. King in Osaka. King called the band out to play with him during the encore.

On his trip abroad, Yamagishi visited Los Angeles and San Francisco and was thrilled by the music scene. He went to the LA Forum to see Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana, and when the concert let out at 1:30 a.m., Yamagishi partied until 3 a.m. at the Cocoanut Grove club at the Ambassador Hotel, one of the premier venues for jazz and funk music.