Friday, February 10, 2017

Ryo Kawasaki - 1983 - Lucky Lady

Ryo Kawasaki 
Lucky Lady

01. Lucky Lady 6:00
02. Looking For You 4:28
03. Secret Of The Wing 6:36
04. Long Time Before You Were Born 1:05
05. Caravan 5:08
06. Forlane 4:30
07. Sophisticated Lady 6:40
08. Rondes Printanieres 2:10

Guitar – Ryo Kawasaki
Synthesizer – Ryo Kawasaki
Written By – Ryo Kawasaki
Bass tracks performed on Roland TB-303, Guitar Synthesizer. Drum tracks performed on Roland TR-808 & sound affects programmed on Commodore 64 Computer by R. Kawasaki. All guitar (electric) solos played on Yamaha SA-2000 Custom Guitar.

Note: All synthesizer sounds you hear on this album are produced by R. Kawasaki's custom Guitar Synthesizer.

Recorded & mixed at Satellite Station in New York City. (Feb & Mar 1983) by R. Kawsaki. Final master transfered at The Ranch by R. Kawsaki & Robert Norris.

Special thanks to Gil Evans, Teo Macero and Kiyoshi Koyama for helping me with the ideas and their love for music and musicians.

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.

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."

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