Born in Osaka, Japan guitarist Kay-Ta is since several years a mainstay as session guitarist in Los Angeles. He performed with artists ranging from pop/R&B artists like Lalah Hathaway, Jenifer Hudson, Jody Watley, Amerie & Chante Moore; contemporary jazz artists like Jackiem Joyner, Keiko Matsui, & Michael Lington; to Jazz Fusion artists like Japanese drum prodigy, Senri Kawaguchi.

He debuted with his album Arrival which won the 2016 15th annual Independent Music Award in The Best Jazz Instrumental Album category. Now he returns with his album Distance (2024). Kay-Ta has written and produced the complete album. All instruments are played by him. On the track Kraken Channing Holmes performs the drums.

The term Distance defines the local measure between two points. For people with wanderlust, it describes the extent of their longing. Kay-Ta has a personal connection to this word due to the pandemic. “The more you keep the 6 feet of Distance between people the more you strongly realize how important we are to each other.” Kay-Ta reflects: “Including this title track, the whole album is based on songs I wrote during the pandemic to stay positive, both as a person and as a musician.”

The focus is on his acoustic guitar with which he sensitively translates his positive but also sentimental thoughts into music. The title melody describes the situation at the height of the pandemic when you can see the people you love but can't hug them.

Kay-Ta sees Hope Within as a positive signal that even in difficult times like the pandemic, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It can be a reminder to remain optimistic, find strength, and seek solutions even when faced with adversity.

But Kay-Ta also sees positive sides to the pandemic: “During the pandemic, the sky in Los Angeles was as clear as ever before because almost no cars were driving around. The contrast between the clear sky and the gloominess inside our hearts was quite interesting, and it made me write this song.” This situation inspired him to create Smog Free, a song full of aesthetics and virtuosity.

Elbows and a Knee lives from the contrast between the slide guitar and electronic sounds. The acoustic guitar acts as a mediator, creating a line between the two poles. Kay-Ta explains: “To me, “Elbows and a Knee” is a post-pandemic way of saying “love and hate.”

Kay-Ta has experienced the pandemic with a feeling of doubt, which is also expressed in the rhythm and sounds of Uncertainty. Watching his daughter communicate digitally then radiated a certain hope.

With Push It Back, Kay-Ta advances into the realm of jazz fusion in a powerful and virtuoso manner. Kraken is the song Kay-Ta used to deal with the hiccups of the presidential election during the pandemic. The inner turmoil finds its expressive manifestation in jazz fusion rock.

Silky is entirely different. Gentle sounds of the acoustic guitar backed by strings rise to a melodious crescendo. Magic Hour is a piece that our protagonist wrote for his wedding and combines peace and inner serenity with joy.

Arabesque is an Arabic architectural art form of decoration. As a romantic attitude, it found its way into music and reached its musical climax in Debussy's two piano pieces. Kay-Ta's interpretation is reminiscent of his sister, who died during the pandemic and loved to play this piece on the piano.

Kay-Ta's album Distance impresses with an incredible multifacetedness of different styles, instrumentations and feelings, which leaves a lasting impression.





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Album Information

Title: Distance
Artist: Kay-Ta
Year: 2024
Length: 0:41:13
Genre: General Jazz
Label: LCR Music


1) "Distance" (4:48)
2) "Hope Within" (4:06)
3) "Smog Free" (4:13)
4) "Elbows and a Knee" (4:14)
5) "Uncertainty" (4:09)
6) "Push it Back" (4:10)
7) "Kraken" (3:26)
8) "Silky" (3:28)
9) "Magic Hour" (3:47)
10) "Arabesque" (4:47)