Funky Panty – Fukuoka’s All Girl Jazz Band

All-girl, big band jazz group “Funky Panty” have a repertoire spanning jazz, latino and even J-pop. They currently have 20 members, but are looking for more to join their crusade of girl power jazz! We chatted with producer Shoji Sugawara to find out more about the band…

Tell us about your band name, Funky Panty…
“Funky Panty” sounds very awkward for native English speakers, but this is intentional! We want our name to have an impact on the audience.

How long has your all-girl big jazz band been together?
Around 6 years.

How and why did your group first form?
Shoji Sugawara, the producer of Funky Panty, wanted to try to revive the traditional big band sound here in Fukuoka. He has been an active professional saxophone player in Fukuoka, but he had a clear vision for this group. He undertook the project aiming to form a glamorous all-girl show band not found elsewhere in Japan. So he started recruiting members 6 years ago.

Why did you decide to go all-girl?
To create a glamorous stage presence!

Where do you meet?
In the basement hall of “Sound Music Instruments Store”, located in Notame, Minami-ku, Fukuoka city. We have joint lessons with all members every Monday night.

How often do you perform?
Our self-produced stage show is held once every year. For this year’s show, we’ll be performing live at Gate’s 7 for 2-days in October. Other than that, we do performances in stage shows and at party events almost every month. One of the biggest upcoming events for us is Nakasu Jazz 2012 in September.

How many members are currently in the band?
We currently have 20 members in total– 6 members for alto sax, 2 for tenor sax, 1 for baritone sax, 3 for trumpet, 4 for trombone, 1 for piano, 1 for bass and 2 for drums. We play not only jazz but also latin and trendy/classical Japanese pop!

☆☆☆Funky Panty Recruiting☆☆☆
Funky Panty are currently seeking new members– any nationality welcome! Non-Japanese music-lovers, regardless of his/her country of origin are encouraged to join! The horn section (saxophone, trumpet, trombone), solo vocal, chorus team and piano are now recruiting female members. The bass and drum sections are accepting applications from both men and women. For more info, check out http://funkypanty.com/ !

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FUKUOKA COMMUNITY CALL OUT
Are you part of a club or community in Fukuoka? We’re looking for community groups, sports teams, and other clubs to feature in the SNAPSHOTS page of Fukuoka Now magazine! If your group is interested, comment below or email us at contact@fukuoka-now.com !

Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn165, Sep. 2012)

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