Otsuka, George [Keiji ]
- Kazunori Sugiyama
(b Tokyo, April 6, 1937). Japanese drummer. Self-taught, he took up drums while working as an assistant for bands, made his professional début with Sadao Watanabe’s Cozy Quartet in the late 1950s, and rose to popularity as a member of Hidehiko Matsumoto’s quartet (1961–4). In 1965 he formed a successful trio featuring the pianist Hideo Ichikawa and recorded with Roy Haynes as guest drummer; in 1970 he toured Japan in the group Four Drums, consisting of Haynes, Jack DeJohnette, and Mel Lewis. He led a quintet from 1971 and various units under the name of Maracaibo from the late 1970s, and he toured Japan with many visiting musicians, including Elvin Jones, Phil Woods, Reggie Workman, Kenny Kirkland, John Scofield, Richard Beirach, Miroslav Vitous, and Nana Vasconcelos. From the late 1980s he led the group We Three (not to be confused with another Japanese group, We 3), with Hiroyuki Takimoto on piano and Hideaki Kanazawa on double bass. Otsuka has been one of the busiest modern-jazz musicians in Japan, and his group is known for providing a stepping stone for developing young musicians....