Sadao WATANABE – Wheel of Life 2003

Sadao WATANABE – Wheel of Life 2003


Watanabe Sadao; (born Utsunomiya, Japan, February 1, 1933) is an influential Japanese jazz musician and saxophonist. He plays the alto saxophone, soprano saxophone and flute, and his work encompasses a large range of styles, with collaborations with musicians from all over the world, and also with friends such as Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, and Hank Jones. His more prestigious awards include the Order of the Rising Sun, the imperial medal of honour for his contribution to the arts, numerous cultural achievements from around the world, the Fumio Nanri award, and his cities first honour award. Sadao first began learning jazz at the age of 18, and established a name for himself. When he turned 29, he left Japan to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 1995, the college awarded him an honorary doctorate degree for his contributions to music.In addition to his musical career, Watanabe has also published six photography books in Japan
Sadao Watanabe has long had a split musical personality. He alternates excellent bebop dates with weak pop albums that pale next to the leaders of the idiom (such as Grover Washington, Jr. and David Sanborn). Watanabe learned clarinet and alto in high school, and in the 1950s he moved to Tokyo, joining Toshiko Akiyoshi’s bop-oriented group in 1953. When the pianist moved to the U.S. in 1956, Watanabe took over the band. He attended Berklee during 1962-1965 and had the opportunity to work with Gary McFarland, Chico Hamilton, and Gabor Szabo. However, Watanabe has remained mostly based in Japan throughout his career where he is a major influence on younger players. He has recorded steadily through the years, most notably with Chick Corea in New York (1970) and with the Galaxy All-Stars (1978). Watanabe’s bop records are inspired by Charlie Parker, but his Brazilian-flavored pop dates are instantly forgettable.
By Scott Yanow, All Music Guide.
This second project teaming bassist Richard Bona with Japanese saxophone great Sadao Watanabe is a clear improvement on their first effort. The production is much cleaner and more energetic, and a change of drummers allows for a more aggressive approach. There is more of Bona’s bouncing bass on these songs, and Watanabe sounds invigorated througout. Guitarist Mike Stern guests on two songs and the addition of a fifth instrument really elevates the group sound. Fans of Watanabe and Bona (and Stern) owe it to themselves to seek this one out.
Sadao Watanabe- (Alto & Soprano Sax, Flute)
George Whitty- (Piano Fender, Keyboards)
Mike Stern- (Electric Guitar)
Romero Lubambo- (Acoustic Guitar)
Richard Bona- (Electric Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals)
Nathaniel Townsley- (Drums)
01. One For You 5:47
02. Tembea 4:27
03. Basie’s At Night 6:07
04. Requiem For Love 6:35
05. Wind & Trees 4:14
06. Koulamanite 4:27
07. Waiting Song 4:16
08. Isabelle 2:59
09. Jindungo 5:37
10. Wheel Of Life 3:38
11. Spring -All Beautiful Days 3:27

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