JAZZ IN JAPAN
1F, 1 Chome-23-9 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku, Tokyo 169-0075
〒169-0075東京都 新宿区高田馬場 1-23-9 イガリビル 1F
Milestone is a short walk from Takadanobaba Station on the JR Yamanote, Tozai or Seibu-Shinjuku lines. Go out the Toyama Exit and walk uphill for two blocks. Alternately, go out the Big Box exit, turn back along the Seibu Shinjuku and Yamanote Line tracks, again uphill, two blocks turn left, two blocks turn right.
Milestone Jazz Café is the quintessential jazz kissaten, the Platonic ideal. It’s off the beaten path, but close to the station on a side street. It’s unassuming, but welcoming on the outside. Inside, it’s more of a living room than a commercial space, with bookshelves heaped with records, CDs, and books.
And food and drinks are just enough to heighten the music, but no more. You feel more like you’re chipping to cover weekly groceries than paying for a coffee or whiskey. It’s not a place you need to eat and drink in, but more like you want, just that little bit, to unwind a little further.
More than that, though, the master knows his jazz. Sit for an hour and he’ll put on alternately analog and digital selections old and new that flow together with an exquisite sense of what music is right for the moment. Moving through the interior in his work kimono, the master is relaxed about people, but intense about music. His collection is superb.
The sound system here is warm, intimate and crystal clear. Tube amps, horn speakers and wood cabinet play music that surrounds you without forcing itself into you. The naturalness of the sound washes through the interior. The bookshelves, acoustic ceiling tiles and wood furniture heighten that natural feel.
Slow food? This is slow music, the antidote to Tokyo’s rush around lifestyle. It’s a place to enter the Japanese jazz culture fully and deeply.