New School News

The cover of the album
The cover of the album "Glimpse"

Kenta Shimakawa, Jazz ’18, Debuts First Album “Glimpse”

While he was a student at the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, Kenta Shimakawa, Jazz ‘18, won the Downbeat Student Music Award for Best Undergraduate Large Composition for his piece “Glimpse.” 

Now, that piece is the title track and the name of his recently released debut album, which consists entirely of music he wrote while a student at Jazz. Further strengthening his connection to the leading performing arts program, Shimakawa worked with three Jazz alumni and two current students on the album.

“Two of the main musicians who contributed to the record are from a previous project I started at The New School called “TinderGodz,” says Shimakawa. “The members helped me develop my musical concept so it was a no-brainer to ask them to work on this project. The New School community is relatively small so you always hear about potential collaborators from word of mouth, playing together, or even just hearing them practice from the halls.”

Kenta notes that two of the pieces were composed thanks to courses he took in composing and arranging while a student, and highlights the environment at Jazz as a major factor in creating the album. 

“I had the freedom and opportunity to create music without confines, under the mentorship of some incredible teachers,” he says. “I also had access to recording facilities and equipment with which I engineered a large portion of the album.”

The album combines Kenta’s favorite parts of jazz and progressive metal to create a lush, intense new sound. Soprano saxophones complement guitar riffs, while horn harmonies mix with passionate screaming.

“So often, fusing genres end up in a cheesy, confusing mess, so I took care to compose music that would present the best parts of both genres,” says Kenta. “I was lucky to have very forward-thinking musicians help me make these soundscapes a reality and I’m happy to say the resulting record was definitely able to present a snapshot of what I love so much about the two genres.”

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