NCC Big Band – Pachinko (2010)

How many sounds can a big band make? Many…

 Jazz is often defined as “music of the moment” because musical decisions must be made in the moment in response to the moments of other musicians—that in turn influence the next moment. This approach makes jazz the both personal and intense of genres.

So we disagree with the good gentlemen of the New Cool Collective Big Band who claim that their new album PACHINKO has them going yet further and further away from jazz. We just think they are just reinventing jazz once again. And while the band made some radical choices of odd and unorthodox influences, the album never lacks a solid foundation.

New Cool Collective made a highly influential trip to Japan in summer 2009. They sucked up impressions from everywhere: from the commercial and video jingles coming from their hotel room’s TV, to the wacky jackpot soundscapes emitting from the gaming halls of Tokyo’s entertainment district Roppongi. Now add to this mix some “punkjazz”, a more dominant rock sound, a 1980s feeling (or is it a 1990s one?) and some throbbing electro drive, and the results are both personal and intense.

But these are all words. Much of what made this album was in the action of the recording. More than ever before, band members came to the studio with loose sketches on which the band could jam. A real group dynamic developed as the recording took place while the writing was still in process. Listeners can not only hear a real sense of musical freedom, but also some serious goofing around.

As the band described it: “We tried to translate the biggest bullshit to the recordings and amazingly enough a lot of it worked!

In short, New Cool Collective Big Band’s PACHINKO is a strong and kinetic album that will leave music lovers stupefied. Musically it’s a masterpiece—albeit a schizophrenic one—coming from a group that stands apart from every other big band on the planet and who once again prove what amazing stuff you can up with as long as you are open to reinventing a genre.


1 Pachinko
2 Little Black Dress
3 Circus Circus
4 Bingo Bongo
5 Pasmo
6 We're All Going Up
7 Heartland
8 Black Gardenia
9 Peace and Happiness
10 Sugar Rush
11 The Diabolical Dr. Z
12 Japanese Bonus