June 6, 2010

Artist of the Day: Nujabes

Nujabes (Noo-Jah-Bess). His alias was simply his penname "sebajun" spelled backwards. Nujabes was also owner of the Shibuya record stores, T Records and Guinness Records and founder of the independent label Hydeout Productions.

In addition to Japanese artists like Uyama Hiroto, Shing02 and Minmi, Nujabes collaborated with underground American hip-hop acts CYNE, Cise Starr (as a solo apart from the hiphop collective CYNE), Apani B, Five Deez, Substantial, CL Smooth, Terry Callier, as well as British rapper Funky DL. He was also a member of the production duo Urbanforest, an experimental collaboration with Nao T.

Nujabes was one of the most prolific contributors to the background music and soundtracks of Samurai Champloo, an anime which blends a feudal Japan setting with modern anachronisms, especially in regards to hip hop culture.

Another distinguishing feature of Nujabes' sound is Jun Seba's incorporation of Jazz samples in his tunes. Nujabes especially samples jazz in his song "The Final View" on his album Metaphorical Music. The Jazz Standard "Love Theme From Spartacus" by Pianist Bill Evans, as played by Saxophonist Yusef Lateef, is sampled over "The Final View." Nujabes incorporates Lateef's head melody on soprano, cuts of his solos, and background piano comping in his piece.

On February 26, 2010, Jun Seba was involved in a traffic accident upon exiting the Shuto Expressway late at night. He died at a hospital in Shibuya Ward after failed efforts to revive him. He was 36 years old. There was a private burial with only family in attendance. Hydeout Productions has stated that Nujabes has left behind tracks, which they plan to release in the near future (Artistopia, 2010).

May you rest in peace, Nujabes.

You can listen to Nujabes' music at:

Released Albums:
Nujabes - Modal Soul
Nujabes - Metaphorical Music 
Nujabes - Impression (Samurai Champloo Soundtrack)
Nujabes - Departure  (Samurai Champloo Soundtrack)

(2010). Nujabes. Artistopia. Retrieved from http://www.artistopia.com/nujabes

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