Kawaguchi, George [Joji ]
- Yozo Iwanami
(b Fukakusa, Kyoto, Japan, June 15, 1927; d Tokyo, November 1, 2003). Japanese drummer and leader. He was brought up in Dairen, Manchuria (now Lü-ten, China), in a musical family, and joined his father’s band there when he was 18. After World War II he returned to Japan, and he began playing professionally in 1947. He worked with the Azumanians, a septet, and from 1953 into the 1980s played in the Big Four, whose founding members were Hidehiko Matsumoto, the pianist Hachidai Nakamura, and the double bass player Mitsuru Ono; the group operated and recorded mainly under Kawaguchi’s leadership. In 1981 he recorded as a leader with Art Blakey, and the following year he performed at the Kool Jazz Festival in New York; he gave concerts in Tokyo and Osaka in 1985. In 1987 he deputized for Blakey at the Mount Fuji Jazz Festival. Kawaguchi used two bass drums and was known for his extended solos; he projected strength and vitality as a drummer but was also capable of great delicacy....