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50 YEARS

JT Video Premiere: “The Revenge of the Rabbit” by Tomoko Omura

Track is drawn from the violinist's fourth album, Branches Vol. 1, out now on Outside In Music

Tomoko Omura
Tomoko Omura (portrait: Trina Hines)

JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of the video for “The Revenge of the Rabbit” by violinist, composer, and arranger Tomoko Omura. Illustrated and produced by Noah MacNeil, the video is inspired by the traditional Japanese emakimono style of handscroll design—an appropriate choice since the song (which appears on the just-released Branches Vol. 1, Omura’s fourth album and her first for Outside In Music) depicts a Japanese folktale, “Kachi Kacha Yama.”

“I’ve always loved Japanese folktales,” Omura comments, “but this one in particular has always stood out to me. It’s wildly imaginative and provocative, and I was hearing it musically as something sinister and psychedelic. Of the many variations of the story, one constant element is that the rabbit always takes three forms of revenge on the evil raccoon. This is depicted by the three soloists.” 

 

Those soloists are Omura herself, pianist Glenn Zaleski, and guitarist Jeff Miles; the band is rounded out by bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Jay Sawyer. 

“The Revenge of the Rabbit” is one of six tracks on Branches Vol. 1 and one of four written by Omura and based on Japanese folktales. As for the remaining two, “Konomichi” is a Japanese folk song by Kosaku Yamada and Hakusyu Kitahara, and “Moonlight in Vermont” is the Great American Songbook classic by Karl Sessdorf and John Blackburn, with a new arrangement by Omura rooted in her realization that the song’s lyrics follow the rules of haiku poetry.

Omura’s career as a jazz artist now stretches back more than a decade. Her previous albums include 2017’s Post Bop Gypsies and her 2008 debut Visions. For more information about her, visit her website.