"It was in 1999 that I first put the word "jazz" in the name of my band. At the time it wasn't an orchestra but a quintet-Otomo's New Jazz Quintet (ONJQ)-made up of myself and four top-flight jazz players who are also friends from my own generation: Kikuchi Naruyoshi, Tsugami Kenta, Mizutani Hiroaki, and Yoshigaki Yasuhiro. Just a little earlier I had started to take a strong interest in the work of artists like Taku Sugimoto, Tetuzi Akiyama, Toshimaru Nakamura, Ami Yoshida, and Sachiko M, who (in a movement eventually dubbed onkyo) were making the sort of quiet music that would be developed mainly in places like Bar Aoyama and Off Site, and carrying out experiments in free improvisation and composition. Thus, almost simultaneously with the work I was doing with these musicians, I plunged into a project that fell under the heading of jazz.
At first these two areas of activity fit together extremely poorly. It goes without saying that there isn't much compatibility between extremely quiet onkyo-style music, which poses an objection to the very act of playing music and strongly rejects the placement of music within a system, and jazz, which has musical performance as its raison d'etre and clearly incorporates a language system. What's more, a great many people accosted me with the question, "Why play jazz now?" By this they meant, of course, "Why would you play such a conservative type of music?" But they may also have been saying, "Why would someone like you, who was born and raised in Japan and played Ground-Zero-style music...?"
Whatever the case, a person who does two seemingly contradictory things at the same time is viewed with suspicion. Even to me, the things that I say and the things I do seem inconsistent. Be that as it may, ever since that time I've held a certain conviction that can't really be expressed in words-a belief that I have no choice but to do it this way. In order to find out what that was-to see what it was I wanted to do-I had to continue down two different paths no matter what anyone said."
- Otomo Yoshihide, explicando la razón por la que aún combina una música del pasado como el jazz con la improvisación electroacústica más del futuro-vuelto-hoy, en las notas del disco Series Circuit [fragmento]. Aportación de mi broder Jon Abbey, puesta en Jazzcorner.