Gary, a trumpet player, and I were listening to some very nice flugelhorn by Ichihara Hikari. Very tasty and such a pretty lady too. I was musing that I wondered if the Asian culture was more open to jazz than that of the US. Gary noted that because so many songs in the jazz idiom are in English that there tends to be more instrumental songs played.
So the Jazz In Japan is very interesting about offering some insight into the Zen of Jazz.
"Spontaneity is at the core of both jazz and Zen. The overlaps and parallels are hard to ignore when listening to really great jazz improvisers, and easier perhaps, when listening in a country with a long Zen tradition. The silence of meditation may not always be filled up with jazz solos in one’s head in return, but the connections can be found in considering both of these amazing cultural forms. Since Japanese musicians have a high degree of cultural awareness, it seems that Zen may be, if only unconsciously and indirectly through the larger culture, be an influence on jazz musicians in Japan much more than in the west."
Jazz seems to more popular oversea than in the US. But there are pockets of Jazz happy venues. Seattle is one of those places. And there is a lot of free jazz every weekend all over the area.