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Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Yokohama, Japan, Sept 14, 1948). Japanese flutist and leader. She started on flute at the age of nine, studied the instrument at the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, and began playing jazz following her graduation. From 1974 she led a band which was active in clubs. She also performed with Isao Suzuki’s group in ...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

[Shoichi ]

(b Hokkaido, Japan, Oct 25, 1947). Japanese drummer. Self-taught, he took up drums in his teens and joined a circle of jazz musicians associated with a student club at Waseda University in Tokyo; he studied jazz drumming privately. After graduating wth a BA in literature in 1974 he joined the trios of Aki Takase and Fumio Itabashi and the group led by Yoshio Ikeda. From 1976 to 1983 he was a member of Yosuke Yamashita’s trio, which throughout the period performed at major festivals in Europe and the USA, and in 1994 he led his own trio, Ichigo Ichie, featuring Nao Takeuchi. Koyama also played further with Itabashi, with the pianist Yoriyuki Harada, and with the reed player Koichi Matsukaze, and has been active as a music teacher.

Article

Jane Alaszewska

[wadaiko, taiko] (Jap.: ‘Ensemble of drums’, from kumi: ‘group’, ‘ensemble’;-daiko: the suffixing form of taiko, a generic term for Japanese drums)

An ensemble using mainly indigenous Japanese percussion instruments for performance on the stage.

Japanese indigenous percussion traditionally served as an accompaniment in ritual music and classical theatre. Its post-war transition to centre-stage was mainly a result of the work of jazz drummer Oguchi Daihachi who, by featuring these instruments in a series of compositions exploring the interface between jazz and ritual drumming, brought them to the fore in contemporary composition. The performance of Oguchi's work at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics inspired the formation of similar ensembles nationwide, notably in the Hokuriku area where kumi-daiko performance became standard evening entertainment at hot springs.

During the 1960s Japan underwent a period of rapid modernization. Many felt the ‘new’ Japan to be losing touch with its ‘traditional’ culture, leading to renewed interest in such arts. As part of this interest Den Tagayasu began assembling a commune with friends for the pursuit of traditional arts and crafts on the remote Sado island. Among the many projects initiated was a ...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

[Gyeongja ]

(b Aichi, Japan, Feb 17, 1965). Korean singer. She studied piano as a child. Although she did not make her professional début as a singer until 1991, she soon came to be regarded as one of the best jazz singers in Japan, and she performs regularly in Japanese clubs. Her albums for Sony (...

Article

Barry Kernfeld

(b Batavia, Dutch East Indies [now Jakarta], Feb 23, 1919; d New York, 26 or July 27, 1990). Record producer of Javanese birth and Dutch parentage. He was educated in the Netherlands, where he first became acquainted with jazz, and he pursued this interest on returning to Batavia and after he moved to the USA in 1939. He worked as a record producer in New York and Chicago, then produced jazz recordings for the Keynote company (1943–6). In 1949 he recorded Al Haig for his own label, HL. After producing a few sessions for the label Seeco, including one by Wardell Gray, he briefly revived Keynote (1955), and thereafter worked as the principal expert on jazz at Sam Goody’s record store in New York (1956–73). In 1972 he founded a new company and label, Famous Door (see Famous Door). Obituaries give his death date as both 26 and 27 July....

Article

Walter Ojakäär

(Leonidovich )

(b Chita, Russia, April 2, 1916; d Oct 13, 2005). Russian composer and bandleader. He lived from 1921 in Harbin, China, where with local Russian musicians in 1934 he formed a band that played jazz and dance music at dance halls in Shanghai and on the islands of Hangchow Bay; he also played piano and studied violin at a local music school, from which he graduated in 1935. Later he graduated from the High Technical Centre of Shanghai as an architectural engineer (1944). In 1947 he repatriated his band to the USSR. Having been refused permission to settle in Moscow, the group played at a workers’ club in Kazan, the capital of what was then the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic; in addition he studied composition and conducting at the Kazan State Conservatory (graduating in 1953). The 18-piece group worked professionally from 1956 and played jazz exclusively from ...

Article

Yozo Iwanami and Kazunori Sugiyama

[Nobuhito ]

(b Osaka, Japan, Dec 6, 1934). Japanese composer, arranger, and pianist. Self-taught, he took up piano as a child and turned professional at the age of 19. After working in the Osaka area he moved to Tokyo in 1955, then played with Shungo Sawada’s Double Beats Five, served from 1959 as pianist and arranger for the West Liners, led by the tenor saxophonist Konosuke Saijo, and led his own group, the Wind Breakers. He wrote compositions for many bands, including the Blue Coats (With Happy Feeling), Tatsuya Takahashi’s Tokyo Union (Confusion), Nobuo Hara’s Sharps and Flats, and Toshiyuki Miyama’s New Herd, and contributed arrangements to about 150 albums. With the double bass player Yasuo Arakawa and Takeshi Inomata, Maeda formed the cooperative group We 3, which was regarded for many years as one of the best trios in Japan, and in 1995 he formed another cooperative group, with Inomata and Sadanori Nakamure....

Article

Nicholas Higgins

(b Trieste, Italy, May 4, 1971). saxophonist of Italian birth. Of South Asian descent, he grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and started playing alto saxophone at age 11. He studied briefly at North Texas State University and received his BM from the Berklee College of Music; he later earned a master’s degree in jazz composition from DePaul University in Chicago. After moving to New York in 1997, Mahanthappa played a crucial role in the pianist Vijay Iyer’s quartet in the 1990s and early 2000s and produced four unique projects with his own quartet. One of these, Mother Tongue (2005), used tonal transcriptions of phrases from Indian languages as melodic source material for his compositions; another, Codebook (2006), applied cryptographic methods to musical composition.

Mahanthappa’s subsequent music has featured other alto saxophonists. His project with Bunky Green (2010) featured the pianist Jason Moran, the bass player François Moutin, and the drummers Damion Reid and Jack DeJohnette. The Dakshina Ensemble, his project with the South Indian musician Kadri Gopalnath, combined jazz and South Indian classical-music ensembles. A two-saxophone project, Dual Identity, featured the alto saxophonist Steve Lehman as well as Reid, the bass player Matt Brewer, and the guitarist Liberty Ellman....

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Niigata, Japan, June 22, 1951). Japanese singer. He began singing jazz while at Waseda University in Tokyo, studied jazz singing in 1974 and guitar, under Kazumi Watanabe, in 1976, and made his professional début with the trio led by the pianist Norio Kotani in 1974. Having performed regularly with the drummer Ryojiro Furusawa, Shigeharu Mukai, and the drummer Takashi Miyasaka, he first led his own group in 1977. From 1979 he led various bands, mainly under the name Suikyoza. In 1990 he recorded with Norman Simmons’s trio in New York and performed with Jon Hendricks. Maruyama is known for his scat singing and his individual manner of vocalizing based on traditional Japanese folk singing. He composes, arranges, and writes about music, teaches and translates English, and teaches jazz theory and improvisation at Nippon University and in his own vocal schools. He should not be confused with the Shigeo Maruyama who became chief executive officer of Sony Music Entertainment in ...

Article

Wim van Eyle

(b Tjirebon, Dutch East Indies [now Cirebon, Indonesia], March 15, 1901; d The Hague, Jan 27, 1965). Dutch bandleader and pianist. He studied piano at the Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands, wrote compositions from the early 1920s, and played piano in the Queen’s Melodists; he first worked professionally as a member of the Resonance Seven (...

Article

Yozo Iwanami

revised by Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Tokyo, May 23, 1933). Japanese vibraphonist. He studied at Meiji University in Tokyo and played guitar before taking up vibraphone in 1955. From the following year he played with the double bass player Mitsuru Ono and his Six Brothers and with a quintet led by Eiji Kitamura, and in 1976 he formed a quartet. He also recorded as a co-leader (1977) and sideman (1984) with Ray Brown and in a duo with the pianist Keiko Nemoto (1983). Masuda’s playing has been influenced most strongly by Milt Jackson (with whom he recorded as co-leader late in 1990), but in his performances with such swing groups as Kitamura’s quintet it has also recalled the work of Lionel Hampton. In addition to his career as a performer he has worked occasionally as a sound engineer, and he runs the record company and label GML....

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Osaka, Japan, Aug 14, 1949). Japanese pianist and leader. He is self-taught, and played in Osaka before moving in 1969 to Tokyo, where he worked at clubs with Isao Suzuki and the trombonist Hiroshi Suzuki. In 1973 he performed, toured Europe, and recorded with Terumasa Hino’s hard-bop group. After going to New York in 1974 he played with Art Blakey and recorded the album Trace as a leader that same year. Thereafter he recorded with Hino (on piano and electric piano, 1975), with Kosuke Mine (1975, 1976), and again as a leader (1976). He returned to Japan in 1976 and led groups and made several recordings while playing with Sadao Watanabe. His jazz-fusion bands made popular recordings into the early 1980s. By the 1990s Masuda was suffering from the effects of multiple sclerosis, but he continued to make new recordings with such sidemen as Ron Carter, Grady Tate, Billy Higgins, and Lewis Nash; ...

Article

Yozo Iwanami

revised by Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Tokyo, Oct 12, 1946). Japanese guitarist. His father was a pianist with the group the Old Boys and one of the pioneers of jazz in Japan. Self-taught, Masuo took up guitar at the age of 15 and was initially strongly influenced by Wes Montgomery. He attended Waseda University in Tokyo, which he left in 1968 to join Sadao Watanabe’s quintet; while with the group he made tours of Europe and America in 1970, when it appeared at the Montreux and Newport festivals. After leaving Watanabe he settled in New York, where he recorded with Elvin Jones (December 1971), played with Jones, Roy Haynes, Lenny White, and Mike Brecker, and served as a sideman in the bands of Lee Konitz (1972) and Sonny Rollins (1973–5). In 1976 he toured Europe with Jones and then played alongside Joe Chambers in Larry Young’s trio. In ...

Article

Yozo Iwanami and Kazunori Sugiyama

[Sleepy ]

(b Okayama, Japan, Oct 12, 1926; d Tokyo, Feb 29, 2000). Japanese tenor saxophonist and leader. He joined the CB Nine, the first Japanese bop group, in 1949, played with the Six Josés, then formed the Big Four with George Kawaguchi, the pianist Hachidai Nakamura, and the double bass player Mitsuru Ono; in 1959 he joined a quintet led by the drummer Hideo Shiraki. He recorded as a guest soloist with Gerald Wilson’s big band at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1963 and worked as a leader from the following year.

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Fujisawa, Japan, Nov 17, 1967). Japanese trumpeter and flugelhorn player. He learned piano from the age of six, then moved on to play trumpet in a brass band at junior high school when he was 13. After attending the Berklee College of Music (1988–91) he formed a quintet consisting of Joh Yamada (alto saxophone), Masaaki Imaizumi (piano), Tomoyuki Shima (double bass), and Junji Hirose (drums). Matsushima also performed in Yoichi Kobayashi’s Good Fellas (...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

[Wakabayashi, Kenji ]

(b Tokyo, Feb 6, 1944). Japanese tenor saxophonist and leader. Having studied clarinet in junior high school he changed to alto saxophone in high school. He first came to prominence as a member of Masabumi Kikuchi’s group (1969–73). After recording his second album (Mine, 1970) he performed with Mal Waldron and Joe Henderson in Japan; around this time he began to play the tenor instrument. Mine left Kikuchi in 1973 and lived in New York for two years. In 1975 he returned to Japan, and in 1978, with Takehiro Honda, he formed Native Son, a jazz-fusion unit; this successful group performed in São Paulo, Brazil, at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and at the Bottom Line and Seventh Avenue South in New York. From 1989 Mine played in Nobuyoshi Ino’s group the Four Sounds, and in 1992 he established a quintet which made recordings and in ...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

[Mitsuko ]

(b Manchuria, China, May 13, 1933). Japanese singer. One of the few pioneers of jazz singing in Japan, she graduated from the Nippon Music School in Tokyo and started singing at US military bases in 1953. In 1955 she joined the Gay Septet, led by the clarinetist Raymond Conde; Conde, a Filipino, led one of the most popular Japanese bands of the era. In 1973 she opened her own school in Tokyo, the Martha Miyake Vocal House. She toured widely, was frequently heard on television and radio, and performed and recorded with Teddy Wilson, Red Mitchell, Hank Jones, Lou Levy, and Conte Candoli, among others. Miyake celebrated her 45th anniversary as a professional jazz singer with a recital in 1998.

Article

Yozo Iwanami and Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Chiba, Japan, Oct 31, 1921). Japanese clarinetist and bandleader. He was a member of a navy band from 1939, and after World War II he played with the Lucky Puppy Orchestra. In 1950 he formed his own band, Jive ACE, which in 1958 became a 16-piece group known as the New Herd; its principal arranger was the guitarist Kozaburo Yamaki. With the group Miyama recorded with Charles Mingus (1971) and other American musicians and from 1974 appeared at festivals in Monterey (California) (1974), New York (1975), The Hague, South America (1978), India (1982), and Nice (1985). He celebrated his 45th anniversary as a bandleader with a special concert in 1995, and continued to lead the New Herd into the new century. Miyama favors a driving, swinging style that recalls the work of Dizzy Gillespie’s big bands; his repertory includes such jazz standards as ...

Article

Yozo Iwanami and Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Matsumoto, Japan, Dec 6, 1927; d Tokyo, July 6, 2000). Japanese tenor saxophonist. Having joined an army brass band in 1944, he began playing professionally after World War II. He performed with, among others, Shotaro Moriyasu, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and Sadao Watanabe, and recorded with Akiyoshi (1954–64...

Article

Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Kyoto, Japan, Jan 5, 1942). Japanese tenor saxophonist and leader. He started on clarinet at the age of 11 and made his professional début in 1964 in Nagoya. In 1966 he moved to Tokyo to join Hideto Kanai’s Kings Lore Orchestra. Later he became a member of Masayuki Takayanagi’s group New Direction (1971) and Masahiko Togashi’s quartet (1972) and performed with the orchestra led by the composer and arranger Bingo Miki. After returning to Nogoya he led a quartet (from 1982) and the Riverside Jazz Orchestra (from 1992) and taught at several schools in the area around Nagoya and Kyoto. In addition to his principal instrument, Mori plays alto saxophone, flutes, clarinet, bass clarinet, and other winds.

(recorded for Three Blind Mice unless otherwise indicated)