5 Minutes With George Nagata of Triple Standard


Can you share with us a little bit more of your band ‘Triple Standard’? In the band profile, it is mentioned that the three of you met back in 2012, how did that happen?

It was all kinds of random. I knew Daisuke and Naoto individually as fabulous players of my generation, and the idea came to me that if we all got together we could make magic happen. And yes, it sure did.

You’ve spent some time in the States, can you share with us an interesting experience you’ve had during any of your performance over there?

In some places and communities, Jazz is becoming classical music of the 50s. I went to watch my idol pianist Benny Green’s show in San Diego and when I was snapping my fingers to the trio’s groove, a well-to-do looking lady turned around and said “Shoosh”. It’s more of an eclectic art appreciation as opposed to freeing your mind and flowing with the groove.

How is the jazz scene in the States as compared to Japan?

It seems like a tough scene. There are less numbers of decent jazz clubs, and people don’t pay as high cover charge as Tokyo – approximately RM100 to RM250 is Japan’s average. Still, the best and the fittest players survive in the States, and I respect the cats that are playing in the US scene.

In your own words, what is the definition of jazz?

I don’t mean to contradict, but defining nothing is the spirit of jazz. You don’t have to play standards. You don’t have to play originals. Swing, funk, 7/8, ballads, whatever rhythm is fine. You can improvise if you want to, but you don’t have to improvise if you don’t feel like it. It’s being free from have-to’s and supposed-to’s.

Other than jazz, what other music do you listen to? Can you name some of them?

Brasilian classics like Jobim are my favourite. Also, I love Radiohead songs as tbey can be quite cinematic. I get inspired by film score composers like Michel Legrand, Henry Mancini, and Ennio Morricone.

Triple Standard has released ‘First Encounter’ & ‘Second Encounter’, any plans for a ‘Third Encounter’ anytime soon?

Yes. All our albums are recorded live (like the classic jazz albums from the 50s) to capture the energy of the music with our audiences. Hopefully next January we will have our show recorded and third album released by May 2017.

*this interview was pulled from NBT’s archives and republished here

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