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The Morning Scan
Random Notes From Far Arcturus

FROM: Walter Becker
TO: Kaku Yamaguchi, Director, B.O.S.S. Productions, Tokyo

Dear Kaku,

It is with an unspeakable sense of goodwill and joy that Donald Fagen and myself and our little party of unworthy virtuosos and technocrats embark on our voyage to your great nation, looking keenly towards our upcoming performances and the great privilege of working for you and playing for your appreciative and knowledgeable Japanese audiences. In the interest of making these experiences the unalloyed pleasure that I know they can and should be, I would like to clear up a couple of things in advance so that no stain of Japanese-American misunderstanding should besmirch our enterprise. To wit:
1. The Kirin beer vending machine which I so admired and enjoyed on our last visit, and about which I innocently inquired whether I could obtain one such for my own humble Hyperbolic Sound Studio green room - I have received a continuous stream of communications from your side of the pond ever since, stating that it was "very difficult" or "nearly impossible" to make the necessary arrangements for such a machine to come to Hawaii - I have since come to understand that "very difficult" and "nearly impossible" are synonymous in the Japanese/English lexicon for "absolutely impossible" and "never happen, bud." That's okay, I give up, please tell your boys that I get the picture, I'll keep my 6's in the cooler as usual, that's perfectly okay, thanks anyway for trying.

2. Following the recording of John Beasley's second album for the now (and even then) defunct Windham Hill Jazz label, I solicited liner notes for said album from a well-known Japanese DJ named Guy Tanaka. His stylish and life-affirming text was ruthlessly suppressed by the Forces of Darkness over at WHJ, over my strenuous and oft-repeated objections, and in the end there was nothing I could do. I have always felt guilty about this, and felt that my failure to get Guy's notes included in the album was a source of some bad feeling between Guy and myself, which bad feeling may in fact persist to this day. Since John Beasley is our piano player on the tour this year, my idea is that if you could get these notes published in the program or on a t-shirt or on the back of a cereal box - anywhere, Kaku, anywhere at all - things would be jake with me and Guy (and his listeners) once more. Towards that end I am including the text herein:

Suppressed Liner Notes
for "Change of Heart"

My town, Kyoto, and indeed my island homeland of Japanese nation, is yet one great study in contrasts. Peaceful Zen gardens, stately temples, honorable traditions, against background of foul smokestacks, buzzing motorbikes, cheap bar girls, etc. you get the idea. Keeping aforementioned facts in view, so unsurprising for me to come late in life to my deepest soul-love: jazz music. In fact, my happy hours spent above the board at local radio station FM 98.6, spinning all the way-hip sides for fellow lovers of modern sounds, these times are yet the saving grace of my else-unworthy existence.

Soon, when I become top pro DeeJay here in Kyoto, the privilege falls to me for meeting and greeting visiting powerstars of jazz fusion world when on tour of Japan. Privilege, my bum! Because one quickly and sadly learns to expect dreary routine behavior of powerstars on the prowl: hit all the bars, eat vast sums of sushi, guzzle rice wine by the gallon, then on to Scotch and Soda, doubles, please! and hunt all night for eligible boom boom girls which so abound here. And of course, not forgetting to stick polite host with mega tab for night in the town, if you please. Reimbursement takes one month, if not never.

So then comes JOHN BEASLEY and band of allstar fusiliers, and I expecting only the worse. What a surprise to see then JOHN BEASLEY forsakes usual dreary pub-crawl and instead takes great pleasure in traditional culture of Japanese people, plus special interest in meditation and art of flower arrangement. In Japan, only women do flower arrangement, but JOHN BEASLEY says, Okay, I like so I do. I think, What a fine dude this is! And then ecstatic surprise when JOHN BEASLEY gig turns out to be so killer, best set of year in fact. So much so, that later when I see BEAZ out drinking with hot chick/flower arrangement teacher, I am only happy for him and other fine musicians in his hot hot group. Then I know the truth. He is all the time looking for a fresh babe. Nevertheless, see for yourself - JOHN BEASLEY is one deep cat, and we will all profit from repeated listening to the fine new album, CHANGE OF HEART.

Gaitako "Guy" Kanaka

FM 98.6
Kyoto, Japan

3. Speaking of flower arranging - our last trip to Japan, Donald and I brought our entire families along, for better or worse, so that they might see for themselves what a splendid country Japan is. Having had that wonderful experience, our wives and children will be staying at home this time. DF and I have already seen the temples and the museums and so on, maybe this time you and your excellent guides and translators will see fit to acquaint us with some of the other cultural traditions for which Japan is duly famous around the world. I think you know what I'm talking about, but if not, call Craig and he will tell you about the splendors he has recounted for us from his visits in the 70's. Please note that his description of the "Yokohama High Chair" and the "Banzai Basket Job" were of particular interest. I'm confident that you or one of your agents will be able to help sort us out.

4. Speaking of touring, speaking of sightseeing - maybe you could arrange for us to have a look at a couple of '50's vintage Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters from one of those magnificent collector's stashes - Wayne and I love to see those nice old axes once in a while, and you guys got them all.
That's it for now - looking forward to seeing you on Monday.
Peace out

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