Shéna Ringö × Neko Saito’s ‘Japanese Manners’ (Tomtit Music Reviews 16)

J-pop goes J-jazz

J.P. Williams
2 min readFeb 24, 2023
Illustration by author.

Speaking of orchestral pop, Shéna Ringö excels at it. Ever since “Chastity at Midnight” (2001), Ringö’s best work has incorporated jazz. On Japanese Manners (Toshiba EMI/Virgin Music, 2007), she collaborates with violinist Neko Saitō and the Noraneko Orchestra for a toybox of jazz fusion consisting of new tunes and covers, including self-covers. Brassy, energetic tracks like “Confusion” and “Camouflage” remind listeners that Ringö comes from the generation of musicians that brought the world the “death jazz” of Soil & “Pimp” Sessions, while numbers like “Mangos” and “Consciously” use the orchestra playfully, like deadpan spoofs of Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé and Harry Connick Jr. The CD kindly includes coasters, so break out the bubbly and try to let the weirder, more experimental and electronic tracks enhance rather than spoil the fun.

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J.P. Williams

I write about the intersection of arts and ideas. Maybe some short book reviews for a while.