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New Release by Ryo!Ryo's 2007/02/23
New release 'Agana!'

Here's Ryo's March 2007 Japan tour schedule(Available in Japanese only)
Newest Release by Ryo!Ryo's 2007/06/27 New release 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix/Easy Listening Jazz Guitar' This is Ryo's first solo album released in 1970 in Japan. Now available in CD, check it out!
Click image to order now!
Please visit!
ryokawasaki.com
Visit newly launched http://ryokawasai.com


Visit Art of Trio page!Click here to check out Ryo's brand new group 'Art of Trio!' since 2005.
  • 'Art of trio' will be performng as part of Jazzkaar festival in April 2007 in Estonia.
  • Click here to view the latest article appeared on Russian News Paper in April 2006.
  • Click here to view the article appeared on Russian News Paper celebrating Ryo's 59th Brithday in Tallinn.
  • Click here to view the article above in Japanese Translation.

  • Click here to listen to Estonian Radio - Raadio 4 featured one hour show for Ryo's B'day in Tallinn 2006, aired on Feb 24, 2006 in Russian language.
    Click here to listen to Estonian Radio Raadio 4, 3 minutes spot to congraturate Ryo's B'day on Feb 25, 2006 in Russian language.
  • Click here for short version of Ryo's bio.
  • Click here for Ryo's brand new online Tutorial / Workshop about Composing (Writing Original Music).
  • Click here for Brand new interview at Polish Uncover site talikng about C64 and his music.
  • Click here for Ryo's entire song list and solo discography.
  • Click here to read Ryo's recent short essay about "Time" & "Time Travel".

  • Click here to listen to live interview on BET on Jazz
    Click here to listen to live interview at Estonian Radio
  • Click here to view Dicography available as CD
  • Click here Ryo's recent & upcoming Performance Calendar Highlights
  • Ryo Kawasaki may be best-known as a premier jazz guitarist, as exemplified on one of his his recent albums (Sweet Life on Satellites Records), but by skillfully mixing sound with science, he also has built a reputation as the quintessential "supermodern" artist who is as much an inventor and engineer as a musician.

    His multi-faceted career has included being an electronics engineer, physics student, top studio session guitarist, amateur astronomer, semi-professional-level pool player, mainstream jazz guitarist, music software computer programmer, rhythm-track specialist, engineer, arranger, record company executive, and producer of many musical styles (jazz, acid jazz, hip-hop, dance, Brazilian, acoustic instrumental).

    Born in Toyko, Japan, Ryo (pronounced like Rio) came to the United States and settled in New York City in 1973. He immediately became a sought-after sideman in the jazz scene and soon was touring and recording with such talents as Gil Evans, trumpeter Ted Curson, drummers Elvin Jones and Chico Hamilton, pianist JoAnne Bracken, flutist Bobbie Humphries, singer Joe Lee Wilson, saxophonist Dave Liebman and other jazz greats. Kawasaki's discography contains some 30 solo albums as well as producing or being featured on more than 30 additional projects.

    In year 2003, Kawasaki has further expanded his live appearances into Russia and Baltic region Jazz Festivals. His current quartet has appeared at Rigas Ritmi Jazz Festival in June 26-27, 2003 in Riga/Latvia as well as Capahck(Saransk) Jazz Ark Festival Oct 10-12, 2003, Saransk is a Capital of Mordovia Republic located 1,000 km east from Moscow. He also appeared with flutist Chip Shelton and Saxophonist Ray Blue at Nõmme Jazz Festival 2003 Oct 24-25 in Estonia. Aside from these festivals, he has been appearing many other jazz venues in Baltic and Scandinavian countries.

    Ryo recently released his new acoustic guitar solo album 'E' as his third solo guitar project for One Voice/Videoarts Music in Japan. The release date of this album was April 24, 2002 and he also appeared at Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada in July 2002 to promote this solo album.

    Ryo's other recent projects includes being a composer, music director as well as guitarist for the jazz ballet "Still Point" for Estonian National Opera House. This ballet is choreographed by Russell Adamson, a native Jamaican who resides in Helsinki. The first three premiere shows of "Still Point" were performed on Dec 30-31, 2000 as special New Year's Eve events and very well received as one of the cutting edge modern ballet incorporating moves from classical, jazz, hip-hop to Latin. This show will be continually performed as a part of their regular programs through out the year 2002.

    Ryo also recently released live studio trio album "Reval" recorded in Tallin Estonia. Featuring Estonia's leading musicians Toivo Unt on Bass, Aivar Vassiljev on Drums and Kristi Keel on English Horn. One of the most intimate acoustic settings to date among his releases. The same group is currently recording the follow up album to Reval in Tallinn during late spring 2002.

    His another recent relese "Cosmic Rhythm" in 1999 features British singer lyrisist Clare Foster along with Ryo's current rhythm section Victor Jones on Drums, Lincoln Goines on Bass. The album also features David Kikoski on Piano and Shunzo Ohno on Flugel Horn. All the songs were arranged and recorded by Ryo Kawasaki including original ten songs by Ryo himself.



    click to visit Ryo's guitar synthesizer museum
    Ryo's original guitar synthesizer hand made in 1979
    click to visit Ryo's guitar synthesizer museum

    Kawasaki Synthezizer
    Kawasaki synthesizer for Commodore 64 created in 1984

    Kawasaki Rhythm Rocker
    Kawasaki Rhythm Rocker for Commodore 64 created in 1985
    Now, you can Run these Ryo's C64 classic programs on PC using Commodore 64 emulator!
    Click here to proceed.

    In 1999, while Ryo was releasing his latest CD "Cosmic Rhythm", two noteworthy Hip-Hop Super Stars Puff Daddy and Keith Murray have recorded Ryo's original composition "Bamboo Child" on their latest albums twenty three years later from it's original recording, proving that even Ryo's old recording would perfectly match with current Hip-Hop beats and moods.

    Ryo primarly plays two guitars -- a custom-made, hollow-body, Yamaha electric (similar to a Gibson) with a mother-of-pearl dragon inlay on the neck (it's shown on some of his album covers); and a Spanish-made, nylon-string, acoustic flamenco guitar (seen on the inside jacket). His electric playing has been influenced by a wide variety of musicians from Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell and George Benson to Carlos Santana, B.B. King and Jeff Beck. Acoustic inspirations include Andres Segovia, Django Reinhardt, John Williams and Paco de Lucia.

    Kawasaki's entire life has been marked by his innate inquisitiveness and powers of invention, both in music and science. He was taking voice lessons at age four and violin lessons at five, and was reading music before elementary school. As a grade schooler, he began a lifelong fascination with astronomy and electronics (he built his own radios, TVs and audio systems including amplifiers and speakers). When Ryo was 10-years-old, he bought a ukelele and, at 14, he got his first acoustic guitar. The album Midnight Blue by Kenny Burrell and Stanley Turrentine inspired Ryo to study jazz.

    In high school he began hanging out at coffee-houses that featured live music, formed a jazz ensemble and built an electric organ that served as a primitive synthesizer. By the time he was 16, his band was playing professionally in cabarets and strip joints. Although he continued to play music regularly, he attended Nippon University, majored in physics and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree. He also did some teaching and contest judging at the Yamaha musical instrument manufacturer's jazz school. Additionally he worked as a sound engineer for Japanese Victor Records and BGM/TBS Music where he learned mixing and editing.

    He recorded his first solo album for Polydor Records when he was 22. Although he continued to perform with his jazz group, and at a young age was voted the #3 jazz guitarist in a Japanese jazz poll, Ryo spent most of the next three years working as studio musician on everything from advertising jingles to pop songs. "I made a great deal of money, but I finally burned out on that scene." He recorded his second album for Toshiba when he was 24. He played with B.B. King at a blues festival and also met George Benson (they jammed for five hours at Ryo's house).

    In 1973, Kawasaki arrived in New York. A friend picked him up at the airport and offered him an immediate gig with Joe Lee Wilson playing at the Lincoln Jazz Center as part of the Newport Jazz Festival. Soon Ryo was jamming regularly as part of the jazz community's "loft scene," and was invited to play with Bobbie Humphries. A few months later, Ryo walked up to his apartment and found a stranger waiting for him at his front door. It was Gil Evans and he invited Ryo to join The Gil Evans Orchestra (David Sanborn, Howard Johnson, Tom Malone) which was then working on a jazz recording of Jimi Hendrix compositions. Hendrix had dreamed up the concept with Evans, but Jimi died a week before the project started. Kawasaki also played on another Gil Evans album on RCA, There Comes a Time, with Tony Williams on drums. Ryo rehearsed for a month with the third edition of Tony Williams' Lifetime, but Tony left to spend a year in Europe before the band got the chance to perform in public.

    Kawasaki followed in the footsteps of Gabor Szabo and Larry Coryell by becoming the guitarist in the Chico Hamilton Band, playing on a U.S. tour and working on various film scores that Chico recorded in Hollywood. Ryo made his debut U.S. album, Juice, in 1976 for RCA and was one of the first Japanese jazz artists to sign with a major label in the States. Sidemen on the project included Tom Coster (Santana) and Sam Morrison (Miles Davis). Kawasaki followed that recording with two more albums, Prism and Eight Mile Road, for the Japanese label East Wind. He also joined the Elvin Jones Band for a year-long tour of North and South America and Europe. By 1978, Kawasaki was tired of touring with other bands and returned to his own projects.

    He explored East Indian music, learned ragas and recorded an Audio Fidelity album, Ring Toss, that combined eastern and western music. With Dave Liebman he recorded Nature's Revenge for the German MPS label and they toured Europe. Ryo also toured European jazz festivals with JoAnne Brackeen. He recorded a pair of albums for Timeless Records in Holland. In Japan, Sony's Open Sky label signed Ryo for three albums -- Mirror of my Mind, Little Tree and Live -- the latter, recorded in a Tokyo club, was one of the first all-digital recordings. "Although I sometimes still perform with a live band, those albums were my last recordings with a live rhythm section. Every album since I have created synthetic rhythm sections in the studio."

    Kawasaki invented his own guitar synthesizer in 1979, and used it to perform numerous solo shows at planetariums from 1980 to 1983. He also formed the jazz-rock group The Golden Dragon and performed concerts regularly in the Eighties. Fostex developed the first quarter- inch-tape, eight-track recorder and asked Ryo to be the first artist to use it. He recorded the album Ryo in 1981 for Phillips Records and gained notoriety for creating all the music himself. He played only a nylon-string acoustic guitar with all his backing tracks created on his guitar synthesizer. He did another similar recording, Lucky Lady, the next year.

    When the Commodore 64 computer came out with a sound-chip in it, Kawasaki became fascinated by the possibilities. He learned to write computer programs and devoted 16-hours-a-day for two years creating four music software programs -- Kawasaki Synthesizer, Kawasaki Rhythm Rocker, Kawasaki Magical Musicquill and Kawasaki MIDI Work-station -- distributed by Sight and Sound Music. The first three programs were for school and home use, and the last one was for professional studios. He created an all-synthesized album, Images, in 1987; and the soundtrack, Pleasure Garden, in 1990 for an IMAX film about the preservation of the earth's endangered tropical rain forests.

    From 1986 to 1990, Kawasaki produced a series of high-charting 12-inch dance singles -- "Electric World," "One Kiss," "No Expectations," "Say Baby I Love You," "Don't Tell Me," "Wildest Dreams," "Life is The Rhythm" and "Acid Heat" -- that mixed free-style, house, acid house and ambient sounds. All of the production was done at his home studio, The Satellite Station, and the records were released on his own label, Satellites Records. His band and a dance troupe also performed extensively in New York dance clubs. In addition, for five years (1988 to 1993), Kawasaki was the New York producer and director of two Japanese national weekly music radio programs, "The Music Now" and "Idex Music Jam." In 1991, Kawasaki's musical direction took another dramatic turn when he was signed by the new jazz and adult contemporary Japanese label One Voice as an artist and producer. Ryo's return to jazz, and his first album for the label, was the 1992 acoustic solo guitar album "Here, There and Everywhere" (released on One Voice in Japan and on Satellites Records in the U.S.). Kawasaki has produced and performed on two albums by Brazilian singer and guitarist Camila Benson for the labels. Ryo's has continued to release a steady string of albums -- the acoustic "My Reverie" (music from Bill Evans, Debussy, Ravel and Gershwin), the electric jazz guitar-oriented "Love Within The Universe" (which received considerable airplay across the country), Remixes Remixes Vol. 1 (also featuring Benson) and "Mirror of my Mind" (a jazz ensemble recording with Harvey Mason, Michael Brecker, Anthony Jackson, Leon Pendarvis and vocalist Radha Shottam).

    Just as mesmerizing as Ryo's guitar playing is his use of innovative rhythm patterns on many of his projects. Those rhythms range from straight-ahead jazz to pop-rock to Latin to hip-hop urban sounds. "When I was a child, my parents listened to a lot of Cuban dance music and those are the first rhythms that captivated me. Rock music took off in the Sixties with the big beat. Then I played with great jazz drummers like Chico and Elvin Jones in the Seventies and they taught me a great deal about rhythm. Elvin conducted the dynamics of the music in his band and told the story of life through his drums. All of these influences helped me when I started programming my own rhythms for dance and jazz recordings over the past 15 years."

    Most of Kawasaki's recordings are combinations of meticulously-crafted rhythms, backing tracks containing a wide variety of melodic sounds, occasional voices, and emotional improvisational guitar readings. "In truth, everything is improvisational. It doesn't matter whether you are playing a guitar or a new instrument like a computer. Anytime you make music you are playing with your knowledge, your libraries of information and your skill. There is a technology revolution going on. Some people rise with it while others are conservative and resistant and are left in the past. I say accept the change and you will have a more positive perspective about life."

    -- Randall Davis

    Today's little photos are nothing but memories for tomorrow, and the life still goes on filled with unexpected turns...Ryo Kawasaki

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    Ryo-1967 in Tokyo
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    Ryo-1952 in Tokyo
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    Ryo with Gil Evans, 1984 Sweet Baisil/NY
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    Ryo with Elvin Jones, 1977 South America
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    Ryo's guitar synthesizer in his loft in Manhattan 1982
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    Ryo and David Williams with Elvin Jones group at upstate playing for prisoners, 1977
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    Ryo's at Gil's apartment listening to Gil's ideas, 1982
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    Ryo with his first beloved wife Akemi, Tokyo 1970
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    Akemi at hotel in Guam, this is the room Ryo wrote his song "Agana", 1971
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    Rehearsing "Agana" for the Album "Prism" with Buddy Williams and Abdula in Manhattan, 1975
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    Ryo's group at JazzCafe in London, 2000
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    Ryo's trio at Sossi Club in Tallinn, Estonia 2000
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    Ryo's trio at Winter Graden in Tallinn, Estonia 2001
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    Ryo with Commodore 64, 1985
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    Ryo with his first daughter Tane, Manhattan 1977
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    Tane in California, 2001
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    Ryo with Japanese all star Jazz band at Yokota American Base camp, 1973. Motohiko Hino(dr), Hidehiko Matsumoto(ts), Ushio Sakai(B3) and others. Check out Ryo's Fender Twin with extra cabinet.
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    Ryo with his little daughter Irie, Manhattan 2003.
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    Ryo with Joe Lee Wilson Band, 1974.
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    Ryo with Ilana and Japanese supporting rhythm section, Nakano Sun Plaza Hall back stage/Tokyo,1979.
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    Session Photo for Mirror of My Mind Recording at Power Station, NY,1979.
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    Ryo with Brian Melvin/Drs, Toivo Unt/Bass at NommeJazz/Estonia June 2005
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    Ryo with Armenian pianist David Gazarov at club Liize Riga/Latvia Feb 2006
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    Ryo in St.Petersburg/Russia playing Viol, May 2006
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    Ryo with Russian pianist Andrei Kondakov in St.Petersburg/Russia May 2006
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    Ryo with Russian actor Sergei Bezrukov at Russian Embassy Tallinn, Oct 2006
    Some of Ryo's new photo albums taken by his mobile phone are viewable below
    View St.Petersburg photos View Summer in Tallinn 2006 photos
    Site produced, developed & maintained by Ryo Kawasaki, Copyright 1996-2007, NY, Satellites Records


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