- Kazunori Sugiyama
(b Tokyo, Aug 11, 1966). Japanese drummer and leader. He started playing drums at the age of three, when he was given a miniature set as a birthday gift. While living in Kenya from ages five to eight he worked professionally as a musician at the Nairobi National Theater for a month. After returning to Japan he studied drums privately (1975–8). He was featured on various radio and TV programs as a child prodigy and gave his first recital in Tokyo when he was 11; that same year he recorded his first album as a leader. In 1978 he accompanied Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt at the Monterey Jazz Festival in Japan. He then worked with Toshiyuki Honda (1978–84), Mikio Masuda (1984–7), and Fumio Karashima (1987–91). Having graduated from Hosei University in 1987, he moved in 1991 to New York, where he later performed with Kenny Garrett, Don Friedman, and Ron McClure, among many others. Okudaira became a member of Carlos Garnett’s quartet in ...