MAIN PRODUCTION CREW
Director: Tetsuya Hoshino
Producer: Shinya Furugori, Tomoyuki Miyagawa
Executive Producer: Chihiro Kameyama
Director of Photography: Imai Takahiro
Editor: Takuya Taguchi
Sound Designer: Junichi Shima
Kaoru Abe, Tadao Ando, Yoshiei Ando, Shigenobu Atsugi, Peter Brotzmann, Tatebumi Isogai, Yasohachi Itoh, Elvin Jones, Shuichi Murakami, Hozumi Nakadaira, Seiichi Nakamura, Paul Nilssen-Love, Seiji Ozawa, Akira Sakata, Katsuhiko Shimaji, Shoji Sugawara, Kyoka Suzuki, Yasushi Toyoshima, Sadao Watanabe
The life and times of one of Japan’s legendary jazz venues, a place that has drawn pilgrims for half a century, and the bar’s audiophile philosopher, owner Sugawara Seiji.
Centered on interviews with Shōji Sugawara, the documentary also features interviews and performances at “Basie” by world-renowned jazz artists like Sadao Watanabe, Akira Sakata, Shuichi “Ponta” Murakami and Peter Brötzmann. The film includes rare footage of live performance at Basie, and live performance images by saxophonist Kaoru Abe and drummer Elvin Jones.
There are also interviews with luminary figures such as conductor Seiji Ozawa, essayist and fellow jazz barman Katsuhiko Shimaji, and actress Kyōka Suzuki. From Sugawara himself, one learns of his uncompromising pursuit of and passion for analog recordings, the origin story of the shop’s name, and his friendly exchanges with Count Basie himself who christened Sugawara as Swifty.
Tetsuya Hoshino shot 150 hours of footage taken over a five-year period. The director was able to achieve a candid portrait of Shōji Sugawara because of his longtime, close friendship with the man.
Whether the viewer knows nothing of jazz or lives for it, this documentary will be able to draw audiences into the world of jazz through the fascinating mirror that Shōji Sugawara provides.