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Tokyo’s Nintendo Switch event featured amazing jazz covers of classic game music

That’s one way to Switch things up

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Nintendo finally provided more details on the Nintendo Switch during an event held in Tokyo last weekend, but if you’re a Nintendo fan, there was something even better at the showcase: a live big band playing jazz covers of music from Nintendo games.

Known as the Nintendo Special Big Band, the 18-piece (!) group kicked off its set with a swinging tune from the 1994 Super Nintendo hit Donkey Kong Country, “DK Island Swing.” (You can hear the original song here.) Following an introduction, the band riffed on tracks from beloved Nintendo series such as Kirby, Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda, Fire Emblem, Mario Kart and, of course, Super Mario Bros. Footage from the games was projected behind them as they played for the better part of an hour.

Even with that many people in the band, a number of them showed off their talents as multi-instrumentalists — you can see the woodwind section in the front row play flutes and clarinets as well as multiple types of saxophones. One of our favorite moments, though, came from the brass in the back row.

Near the 35-minute mark, during a relatively calm rendition of the original Pokémon title theme, a blond-haired, sweatband-wearing trumpet player jumped in with a fiery 20-second solo that left him breathless — and wowed his bandmates:

Nintendo Special Big Band - Pokémon trumpet solo
Blow, Danny!
Nintendo of Japan/YouTube

We’re just as impressed. As far as we know, the U.S. version of the Nintendo Switch event, which took place over the weekend in New York City, had no such accompaniment. So yes, as usual, everyone outside America gets the cool Nintendo stuff. But hey, maybe that’ll change now that the Switch is region-free!

The Nintendo Switch will be released March 3 worldwide for $299. For more details, read about its full hardware specifications.