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.
So the first time the 3 members came together was in 2014. We did a tour and played in Legacy Taipei (6/12), Room335 Tainan (6/13) and In Our Time Kaosiung(6/14). We did a live recording. And released a live debut album "佇台南 Live in Tainan" in May 2015.
Actually at that time we didn't call ourselves "Tokyo Chuo-Line" yet but we name the concert event as "Tokyo Chuo-Line Unexpected". And the people in Taiwan kept referring to the band as "Tokyo Chuo-Line" since then so we realized the name had already stuck. So we decided to call ourselves that from 2017.
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 3rd album, "Lines & Stains", which was later to be released in June.
Both "One Line" and "Lines & Stains" were distributed in Japan also from 2018 June.
In 2019,the album "Lines And Stains" was nominated in 3 different category for Golden Melody Award in Taiwan and on June 29th, the album won the award as "Best Instrumental Album".
Toru Hayakawa (Bass) Ken Ohtake (Guitar) Noriaki Fukushima (Drums)