It's hard to imagine a musical career that included musicians as varied as Charlie Parker, Peggy Lee, George Shearing and Carlos Santana. But such was hand percussionist Armando Peraza's resumé after almost 70 years making music.
This summer Nas is traveling the world performing his debut album, Illmatic, in full. The crowds coming out to see him — in Texas, Germany and California — are turning up because the 20-year-old record is an acknowledged classic.
In the early '90s hip-hop was just beginning its takeover of popular music. It was landing on the charts, but more often than not, the songs there were novelties (see: MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice).
For the people who took hip-hop seriously, and especially the fans in rap's hometown of New York City, this was a problem.
If you've witnessed a headlining performance from pianists Toshiko Akiyoshi or Hiromi, visited a "jazu kissa" cafe where records are spun and coffee poured, or read nearly any work by author Haruki Murakami, then you probably have a sense that Japan has taken well to jazz music.