In jazz bands, flute is far from common as a lead instrument, but this is what makes jazz flute quartet Kanacept a breath of fresh air. The New School-born ensemble has been playing shows throughout New York City for around two years and consists of Kana Miyamoto on flute, Kieran McAuliffe on guitar, Sam Weisburg on bass, and Yosuke Nagayama on drums. Their debut album, aptly named Spring Doze, combines elements of jazz and classical music to form compositions that evoke the joy and wonder of the arrival of spring. The flute melodies are graceful yet spontaneous, as if the flute itself were meandering lazily through a woodland, where the flora and fauna are just starting to spring to life. The strongest tracks on the album, such as “A Song for Flying Penguins” and “Vivace!!”, reflect this birth of life as they become suddenly more upbeat and almost catchy. For listeners who aren’t accustomed to more unconventional jazz music, Spring Doze may seem a bit too unfocused, but its playful and random nature are sure to grow on any listener. In an exclusive interview, Kana speaks about what inspired the tracks on album, what challenges she faced in creating the finished product, and what she hope audiences will get out of it.
What inspired you while you were writing the album?
When I was writing the album, it was the end of the winter, and I experienced the first spring breeze of the year at that time. I started writing by jotting down random note names, which then became the melodies. They came out very naturally, so it didn’t take much time to write the harmonies and finish the pieces. As I was finishing up each song, I would imagine myself falling asleep to the feeling of that spring breeze, so I titled the album Spring Doze. The album art is based on the colors this image evokes.
How would you describe the style and feel of your album?
It is hard to say what genre we are, but you could say we’re contemporary jazz. When we started this group, I had this concept of everyone linearly improvising at once, like Bach in a composition. We experimented a lot with this method on both jazz standards and our originals. As we kept rehearsing and sharing our compositions, we started to develop our unique sound, which is kind of a dreamy, fairy tale-like sound.
What challenges did you face in writing/recording the album?
Preparing for the recording was a lot of work because we wanted to do contrapuntal improvisation for some of the songs, so getting as comfortable as possible with that to make sure we captured our best moments while recording was the hardest part for me.
What do you hope listeners will get out of it?
I hope people will enjoy the Kanacept world like they might enjoy reading a very old, several hundred-page adventure book or being somewhere in wonderland, like all kids do and like our band does.