Thursday, March 19, 2009

Global funk connections: Mondo Grosso / Monday Michiru

Perhaps a sign that we live in a kind of postmodern global age is the video below: a Japanese band fronted by a Japanese-Italian-American singer, playing Brazilian-inspired jazz-funk, on European tour.

Mondo Grosso were a Japanese outfit active in the early 90s, formed by producer and bassist Shinichi Ozawa. The above live track, with the hippified titled of “Tree, Air and Rain on the Earth” actually works better in its studio version, in which the tempo is a bit faster and the rhythm section and chanted chorus are beefed up to make a mightily infectious dancefloor classic. You can find it on volume 4 of the “Rebirth of Cool” series.

Out front of that track is singer and flautist Monday Michiru. The daughter of a Japanese jazz pianist mother and an Italian-American saxophonist, it is hardly a surprise that she would turn to a musical career. A key player in Japan’s emerging acid jazz scene in the early 90s, Michiru has been a prolific solo artist and actress in her homeland as well as guesting on tracks by the likes of Basement Jaxx and DJ Krush.

The below track, “You Make Me” is in more of a disc-house vein and has become a well-known song due to its inclusion in that popular Asian video game, Dance Dance Revolution.

Monday Michiru - "You Make Me"

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