Tokyo Chuo-Line is the name of our band. We are an instrumental band, consists of Ken Ohtake on guitar, Toru Hayakawa on bass, and Noriaki Fukushima on drums. Name of the band comes from a railway in Tokyo city. There is one train running across Tokyo city and it is called “Central line” (Chuo-Line).
Lots and lots of bars, live houses, clubs are in the area and 3 of us grew up playing those jazz and rock venues when we were younger. We still do. So the word “Tokyo Chuo-Line” has a symbolic meaning to our musical journey. Yes, it is one our key element.
Originally, Ken and Toru started to play duo concerts in Taiwan back in 2013. Their first encounter was when they were in the university and played together a lot since then, including long-time collaboration with Hakka folk singer Lin Sheng Xiang in Taiwan. After some shows they decided that we need a drummer. Then decided to invite Noriaki to play. Toru and Noriaki (everyone calls him Nori) go way back. Toru and Nori first started to play together in their mentor’s band in 2000. Their mentor was a legendary jazz drummer in Japan, Ryojirou Furusawa. They played in his band called “Ne” (which means “root” or “tone of a sound”) until 2011.After countless gigs and various sessions together,Toru and Nori trust each other so much.
In May 2017, we released a studio album called “One Line”.
Our repertoire is original compositions. Ken has his unique exquisite way of playing guitar and great with his way of creating texture, and that shows in his composing also. Toru creates tunes that has a big open space to improvise over and allows anything to happen, like we play in a big playground. Nori‘s groove is always big and strong but at the same time, his composing is surprisingly melodic and interesting. 3 of us have a background of jazz influence but we improvise not strictly in traditional jazz manner,but allow ourselves to let anything happen. And our long term relationship makes this band ensemble more tasteful and full of sensitivity.
In 2018, March 25th, the band appeared on one of the biggest music festival in Taiwan, “Megaport Festival“. And during this period, Tokyo Chuo-Line invited renowned saxophone player, Minyen Terry Hsieh, to record “Lines & Stains”, which was later got the Best Instrumental Album for The 30th Golden Melody Awards in 2019.
Their Third Album “Somewhere In The Middle” was released in June 2019, and the Fourth Album “Fly By Light” was released in 2020. Tokyo Chuo-Line will record their new album in 2023, and plan to release it in 2024.