Koji Hori goes solo

Koji Hori goes solo

Press Vinyl Café was lucky enough to host Koji Hori for a rare solo appearance . Koji has been, like all jazz artists playing in various bands over the years. Koji felt it was time to start venturing out on his own and begin that journey of being comfortable in the main spotlight. Remember a guy named Jimi Hendrix? He use to be the rhythm guitarist for another artist named Little Richard. Look what happened when he decided to step out.

The journey was not an easy one, because as a jazz guitarist, Koji would practice until he got things perfect. When he got on the stage and did not do perfectly he would go into hiding and practice until he got it perfect again. Once that story came out, the audience got very interactive and began asking him questions between songs. So it became half music and half storytelling. A woman who just walked in off the street had to jump in with how grateful she felt at how open and relaxed this evening was. She had wanted to come into these shows for a few weeks, and just decided this was going to be the night. I love it when music can create a community.

Koji is a self taught guitar player who hails from Japan, but when he came to Canada he decided to dedicate his craft and went to Humber College for Jazz guitar. His main influence was from an American Jazz guitarist named Barney Kessel who was well known for his knowledge of chords and inversions. He was very prominent being a session player. As it turned out one of the students of Barney eventually had the opportunity to own one of his guitars. Koji reached out to him and they have been connecting over the internet. Koji is now the next in line of becoming a student to his mentor Bruce Foreman, who was the student of Barnry Kessell. I love stories like this. It can only create a stronger bond to the music and keep it rich. Koji would also like to recognize his Toronto mentor, Reg Schwanger.

Koji plays a 1951 Epiphone guitar and it really has that historic sound that keeps the sound very grounded and earthy. Gibson now creates those guitars; But Koji owns an original model before Gibson came into that scene. I believe this adds to his special sound that he is working hard to create.

The concert itself was very laid back and chilled. It was a very hot day and Koji kept it cool for us. A couple of the songs he performed was, “There will never be another you”, and “All the things you are” from Guys and Dolls. He was all about the great American Songbook that evening. My personal favourite was when he played, “The Girl from Ipanema”. It was the most comfortable evening that I have ever spent in that record store. If Koji did make a mistake, nobody heard it. It was a gathering of people who just love being in the company of other people who love music.

Here are some images of Koji Hori:

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