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KAZUMI WATANABE

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Japan


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Kazumi Watanabe picture
Kazumi Watanabe biography
Kazumi WATANABE is one of Japan's best known fusion guitarists. After hearing Wes Montgomey at the early age of fifteen, WATANABE fell in love with jazz. At 17 he appeared with his first band, INFINITE, and word spread of his guitar prowess. He soon was playing with major stars in Japan's jazz and fusion scene. In 1979, he formed the band KYLYN, which included Ryuichi SAKAMOTO and Akiko YANO, among others.

In the 1980's, now and international star, WATANABE was playing with worldwide jazz greats like Marcus Miller, Eddie GOMEZ, Steve GADD, The BRECKER BROTHERS, and even Jaco PASTORIUS. His most famous albums may be The Spice Of Life and The Spice Of Life Too, both recorded with Bill BRUFORD and Jeff BERLIN.

WATNABE continues to push the boudaries of jazz and fusion, sometimes blending Japanese folk instruments into his music as well. In 2010 he celebrated his 40th year of his musical career, with a series of events, where in one he played in a full orchestral version of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez.

WATANABE is currently a guest professor at the jazz course of Senzoku Gakuen College of Music.

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KAZUMI WATANABE Videos (YouTube and more)


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KAZUMI WATANABE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KAZUMI WATANABE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.75 | 4 ratings
Infinite
1971
3.50 | 2 ratings
Endless Way
1975
4.25 | 4 ratings
Milky Shade
1976
3.50 | 2 ratings
Monday Blues
1976
4.00 | 2 ratings
Mudari - Spirit Of Song
1976
3.50 | 2 ratings
Olive's Step
1977
4.00 | 2 ratings
Lonesome Cat
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
Mermaid Boulevard
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tokyo Joe (with Ryuichi Sakamoto)
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
Village In Bubbles
1978
3.50 | 2 ratings
Kylyn
1979
4.50 | 2 ratings
To Chi Ka
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Talk You All Tight
1981
3.50 | 2 ratings
Dogatana
1981
5.00 | 1 ratings
Ganesia
1982
5.00 | 1 ratings
Mobo
1984
5.00 | 1 ratings
Mobo II
1984
4.00 | 2 ratings
Mobo Club
1985
4.00 | 2 ratings
Mobo Splash
1985
3.55 | 9 ratings
The Spice Of Life
1987
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Spice of Life Too
1988
4.00 | 1 ratings
Kilowatt
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
Romanesque
1990
4.00 | 4 ratings
Pandora
1991
4.00 | 2 ratings
O.X.O (as Resonance Vox)
1992
4.00 | 1 ratings
Resonance Vox
1993
4.00 | 1 ratings
Oyatsu
1994
0.00 | 0 ratings
Oyatsu 2
1995
4.00 | 1 ratings
Esprit
1996
4.00 | 1 ratings
Dandyism
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dear Tokyo
2001
5.00 | 1 ratings
Beyond The Infinite
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Guitar Renaissance
2003
5.00 | 1 ratings
Mo' Bop
2003
5.00 | 1 ratings
Mo' Bop II
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
Guitar Renaissance II
2005
5.00 | 1 ratings
Guitar Renaissance III
2006
5.00 | 1 ratings
Mo' Bop III
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Guitar Renaissance IV
2007
5.00 | 1 ratings
Nowadays (with Minako Yoshida)
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Acoustic Flakes
2009
5.00 | 1 ratings
Jazz Impression
2009
5.00 | 1 ratings
Tricoroll
2011

KAZUMI WATANABE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
One For All
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lotus Night
2011

KAZUMI WATANABE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

KAZUMI WATANABE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KAZUMI WATANABE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

KAZUMI WATANABE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Spice Of Life by WATANABE, KAZUMI album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.55 | 9 ratings

BUY
The Spice Of Life
Kazumi Watanabe Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Kazumi Watanabi is a Jazz Fusion guitarist and possibly Japan's most famous of those. By my count he's released 45 studio albums in 45 years. Beginning in 1971 when he was just 18 to 2016 his most recent album at 63 years of age. Yes the guy can play and he was influenced by Wes Montgomery. This particular album was released in 1987 and it's a trio with Bill Bruford on electronic drums, drums and percussion, and Jeff Berlin on bass and his play is what I enjoyed the most.

Man I've been spinning Jazz and related albums since last September and I say this because this might be a fine record but 3 stars is all I got. Just not huge on the guitar style even though he changes it up plenty and those electronic drums even though neither would keep me from giving this another spin. It's not bad at all. Forgot to mention Kazumi plays synth guitar on here too which I'm not big on but it has it's moments. I mean these are players I'm just not a fan of a lot of this. If I had to pick a couple of favourites one would be "Lim-Poo" with the spacey synths as bass and drums join in then guitar. I enjoyed this track a lot. But the opener is my favourite because of how much it sounds like "Discipline" era KING CRIMSON and Bruford is here!

 The Spice Of Life by WATANABE, KAZUMI album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.55 | 9 ratings

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The Spice Of Life
Kazumi Watanabe Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars I had heard Kazumi Watanabe before this album. One of my co-workers in the record store had introduced me to the "Mobo" albums before this one. But at the time I was a prog snob, and didn't really notice his talent until this album, which featured some guy named Bill Bruford, and a bassist that had played in Bruford's bands, Jeff Berlin.

The album begins with Melancho, an imitation of "Discipline" era King Crimson, where Watanabe overlays guitar parts and string bending solos, impersonating both Fripp and Belew at once. Berlin alternates between his usual flying fingers basslines and Levin-like growls.

The rest of the album is more original, with Bruford being Bruford, with his adept technique making difficult patterns sound smooth and easy. Watanabe and Berlin sound like they were born to play together, pushing each other to more and more challenging lines.

While I wouldn't quite call this a masterpiece, it is a standout work of fusion, which was unusual in the depressing eighties.

 Pandora by WATANABE, KAZUMI album cover Studio Album, 1991
4.00 | 4 ratings

BUY
Pandora
Kazumi Watanabe Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars On this album, Kazumi Watanabe has put together yet another group of highly talented Japanese fusion musicians, this time in a band called Vox Resonance, and once again showed why he is one of not only Japan's, but the world's top fusion artists.

His band is spectacular. Bassist Vagabonde and drummer Rikiya Higashara along with percussionist Tomohiro Yahiro are easily up to the task of following Watanabe through his world of fusion, from straight electric jazz rock, to the Weather Report styled Peking Doll to Thelonius Monk influence be-bop. No matter what, the intensity stays high. There is even a piece with a violinist, and Zakir Hussain on tabla (Passy Home) that would give John Mclaughlin's Shakti a run for their money.

Another highlight is Fire Cracker. With a Blues Brothers style rhythm, Jao Jing Yin on pipa and Zhang Lin on yang-qin give the tune a fantastic east Asian flair.

I love this album as much as Watanabe's work with Bill Bruford & Jeff Berlin.

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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