The album that made Ryo Fukui the cult artist he is today. Supported by YouTube algorithms and online communities, “Scenery” would introduce swathes of Americans to the world of Japanese jazz and the seemingly overlooked talent of its foremost pianist Fukui. It fused bop with modal and cool jazz to create a world of influence concentrated down into the fingers of Fukui. It would become known as a lost classic and some of the best Japanese jazz has to offer.
After WWII and the cultural embargo set by the Japanese empire, a growing interest in jazz music grew in Japan, capturing the hearts of many including Ryo Fukui. The self-taught pianist from Sapporo, Ryo would begin releasing his jazz in the mid-70s. American jazz artists he grew up loving were moving more towards jazz-fusion due to a decline in mainstream popularity. However, jazz in Japan was still as popular as ever, allowing Ryo to create some of the best hard-bop and straight jazz of the decade. Many overlooked his contributions until the 2010s when internet algorithms and recommendations proliferated his music online. After his passing in 2016, his music saw a spike in popularity which would spark a niche interest in Japanese jazz.