Herbie Hancock
Artist Profiles

Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock Herbie Hancock, a child prodigy, began his professional career in 1960 when he was discovered by trumpeter Donald Byrd, who asked him to join his group. Byrd also introduced Hancock to Alfred Lion of Blue Note records, and after two years of session work, he signed to the legendary label as a solo artist. His 1963 debut album, Takin' Off, was an immediate success, producing "Watermelon Man", an instant hit at jazz and R&B radio. 1963 also brought Hancock the call that was to change his life and fix his place in jazz history. He was invited to join the Miles Davis Quintet. During his five years with Davis, Hancock and his colleagues thrilled audiences and recorded classic after classic, including albums like ESP, Nefertiti, and Sorcerer.
Since that auspicious beginning, Hancock has been at the forefront of every major electronic and acoustical movement to expand and explore the jazz genre. No stranger to career accolades, Herbie won the 1987 Academy Award for his soundtrack to the film "Round Midnight". He won 10 Grammy Awards, including two for his 1998 classic Gershwin's World and two for the 2002 release Directions in Music, as well as countless other awards for his contributions in the entertainment industry.
In 1996, Herbie founded the Rhythm Of Life Foundation, dedicated to finding ways to use technology to address the real issues of humanity and to narrow the gap between those who are technologically empowered and those who are not.
Last year, in 2002, Herbie released a live album, "Directions In Music", as a tribute to the 75th anniversary of the birth of both Miles Davis and John Coltrane, which garnered him the grand prize for Japan Jazz Disc Awards and two Grammy Awards.
Herbie is a true icon of modern music. His explorations have transcended limitations and genres, and at the same time he has maintained his unmistakable voice. Hancock's success at expanding the possibilities of musical thought has placed him in the annals of this country's visionaries. What's more, he continues to be amazed and expand the publics vision of what music is all about today.
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Youssou D'Dour
Youssou D'Dour Born in Dakar in 1959, N'Dour is a singer endowed with remarkable range and poise, and, as a composer, bandleader and producer, with a prodigious musical intelligence.He absorbs the entire Senegalese musical spectrum in his work, often filtering this through the lens of genre-defying rock or pop music from outside Senegalese culture.Named "African artist of the century" by the English publication Folk Roots at the threshold of the year 2000, N'Dour has made mbalax famous throughout the world during more than twenty years of recording and touring outside of Senegal with his band, the “Super Etoile”.
The Village Voice's Robert Christgau, dean of American rock critics, has called N'Dour “the world's greatest pop vocalist” and his band “the greatest band in the world”, and Christgau judges N'Dour “the one African moving inexorably toward the world-pop fusion everyone else theorizes about“. Peter Gabriel, whose duet with N'Dour on “In Your Eyes” (from Gabriel's 1985 album So) defined a truly distinguished moment in the history of rock, has proclaimed N'Dour, as a singer, simply “one of the best alive”.
N'Dour solidified his leadership of the Super Etoile by 1979, having retained the essential personnel from earlier incarnations of the group, and he soon thereafter launched an international career with the help of a Senegalese taxi drivers' fraternal association in France and a small circle of supporters in England. The beginnings in Dakar had been more inauspicious. As a willowy teenager, N'Dour had to resort to hustling pirate gigs in the parking lots outside certain of the city's dance clubs to which he and his band mates had uneasy or no access, his distinctive voice eventually earning him a reputation as a boy wonder and the occasional live amateur-hour slot on the National Radio. As early as age twelve, N'Dour had also been performing at neighborhood religious-ceremonial occasions in the hard-bitten Medina section of the city where he grew up as the first-born child of a pious auto mechanic, Elimane N'Dour, and his wife, N'Deye Sokhna Mboup, herself of griot origin and an occasional performer in the ceremonies of the Medina neighborhoods.
Today, N'Dour and the Super Etoile, acknowledged as Africa's most popular live band on a worldwide scale, continue to play challenging Senegalese roots music with what The Los Angeles Times said is “a joyous precision”. Responding to the introspective side of the group's recording career, which has included such critically-acclaimed major-label albums as “Set” (Virgin 1990), “Eyes Open” (Sony Music 1992) and “The Guide” (Sony Music 1994), and “Joko (The Link)” (Nonesuch 2000) as well as the parallel release of dozens of local productions in Senegal, The Guardian (London) has called their music “the finest example yet of the meeting of African and Western music: wholesome, urgent and thoughtful”.
Youssou N'Dour's long-awaited “Nothing's in Vain” is the first album N'Dour has made directly for Nonesuch, the label having released his “Joko (The Link)” under license. This maiden Nonesuch album purposefully continues the essential ambition of N'Dour's career Î to nurture a flowering of the musical traditions of his native Senegal within an envelope of modernist pop idioms that defy all borders.
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Speech Todd "Speech" Thomas was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 1968.He began to DJ at the age 13, known as DJ Peech.While in college, he penned a regular column dealing with racial Issues in the Community Journal.During his studies, he formed a group who subsequently changed its name to "Arrested Development".In 1992, the group released a ground-breaking debut album, "3 Years, 5 Months, and 2 Days In The Life Of" which yielded three singles including "Tennessee" and enjoyed lengthy stays in US and UK top 10. The recording a smash hit exceeding 7 million sales worldwide.It brought them two Grammy Awards as "Best New Artist" (first rap artist ever to receive the award) and "Best Rap Duo Or Group", and was highly praised for extending their audience beyond the hip-hop cognoscenti.
After contributing "Revolution" to the soundtrack of Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" at the end of 1992, the group did a gig for "MTV Unplugged" in May 1993, as the first rap group to make the performance.A second album, "Zingalamaduni" Swahili for "beehive of culture", emerged in 1994.That year being their sizzling year, Speech performed in Japan for the first time in November.
In January 1996, Speech released his first solo album featuring the track "Like Marvin Gaye Said". For this album, Speech relied on his Influences from soul, jazz, rap and funk, and placed great emphasis on his own lyrics and ideas.Subsequently, he released "Hoopla" ('98) and "Spiritual People" ('00), which went Gold In Japan In less than three months, and was named "Best Black Music Album of 2000" In Adlib Magazine. In 2001, "Arrested Development" reunited to release "The Heroes of the Harvest".At the first Summer Sonic, now a standard rock festival in Japan, the group brought down the house with their brilliant revival performance in Japan with Dragon Ash, Jon Spencer, and James Brown.
In 2002, Speech released another solo album entitled "Down South Productions", which captured much of the musical character of the South. In April of the same year, he toured throughout Japan in the cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Hiroshima. Speech also enjoyed DJing with world-renowned bassist Victor Wooten at the birthday party of Prince. His latest album, Peechy, Is a tribute to his hip-hop roots and his days as DJ Peechy. The album was released In February of this year and yielded the single 'Cruisin' In My Super Beetle', which featured members of Arrested Development, and shot up to the top 10 In the Japanese charts.
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Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman Joshua Redman was born in Berkeley, California in 1969. His father was a noted saxophonist, Dewey Redman. At the age of ten, he took up the tenor saxophone and taught himself to play the instrument.
He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University in 1991, and was accepted to Yale Law School subsequently. In November of that same year, Joshua performed at the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition and won the contest. With this as a turning point, he decided to follow the path of becoming a professional musician.
This earned him a recording contract with Warner Bros. In 1992. And ever since then, honors of receiving the Best New Artist in the 1993 Jazz Times readers' poll, were showered upon him. He was also awarded the First Swing Journal New Star Awards here in Japan, where his popularity steadily grew and also had strengthened his ability (talent).
In the meantime, his graceful behavior and appearance attracted much attention from the film/fashion industry, which lead him to appear on Robert Altman's film, "Kansan City". He also received endorsement from DKNY, one of the leading brands in the world of fashion. He has surely made a name for himself, making a stir in various fields other than the world of music.
He has released nine albums in total of which he recorded as a leader.
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Kazumi Watanabe
Kazumi Watanabe Guitarist - Composer - Producer
Born in 1953 in Tokyo, Kazumi Watanabe was taken up with the jazz tradition in his teens, and has studied electric guitar under Sadanori Nakamure. He made his solo debut in 1971 with the album "INFINITE", and was acclaimed as a promising guitar prodigy.
In 1979, he joined a group of innovative musicians such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Akiko Yano and Shuichi Murakami to form the legendary all-star band KYLYN, making an impact on the Japanese music scene.
In autumn of the same year, he participated in the world tour of Yellow Magic Orchestra. Its huge success brought the name KAZUMI an international recognition.
His works during the 80s have built him a reputation as the precursor of jazz-fusion in Japan, especially with "TOCHIKA", one of his record-breaking hit albums.
Playing in the US and Asian countries under his own leadership and performing with numerous top musicians of the world, he was prized Nanri Fumio Award in 1991 and Grand Prix of Jazz Disc in 1984, among others.
In the 90s, Kazumi explored new ground in the classical idiom with acoustic guitar. He received enthusiastic welcome performing in European cities such as Barcelona and Rome in 1991, Sofia and Lisbon in 1995, and Paris in 1997.
From his "ESPRIT" released in 1996 through "DANDYZM"(1998) up to "ONE FOR ALL" recorded live at the Bottom Line in New York, his recording works are representative of his original style which places Kazumi in the forefront of the music scene. Later on, he also launched into multimedia packages through DVD releases such as "LES JEUX INTERDITS".
Chosen Best Jazzman 24 times in a row by Swing Journal's annual poll, he has been producing musical events, and improvising, composing and arranging in a constant approach to create his own musical universe.
To celebrate his 30 years of professional career, he presented the "Suite for Guitar" in January 2001, a composition/performance in which he challenged the realms of possibility of his cherished fretboard instrument - acoustic, electric and ethnic guitars.
Kazumi's passion for challenge and willingness to break the barrier of musical genres never cease to fascinate all music-lovers.
He has been teaching jazz courses as a guest professor at Senzoku Gakuen College since 1996. Latest album "Guitar Renaissance", his first solo performance work, has a very good reputation.
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Norio Maeda
Norio Maeda Norio Maeda was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1934. Being taught to read musical scores from his own father since childhood, later began to study the piano on his own.As soon as he graduated from high school, began his professional career by performing live in Kansai area.
He came up town to Tokyo in 1955, joined numerous groups such as "Shungo Sawada and the Double Beats".Also, enrolls in the honorable group, "Westliners".Highly esteemed not only as a pianist but also as a brilliant arranger, he begins his career on stage, on television, etc., in a wide range of fields.
Since 1975, made his appearance on regular basis on "11PM" and enjoyed reputation there.Subsequently, became musical director for the hit TV series such as "Sound in S", "Music Fair", and also began to take charge of the theme and music for numerous TV programs.
He was garnered the "Award for Best Arrangement" at The Tokyo Music Festival in 1981, the "Award for Best Arrangement" at The Japan Record Awards in 1983, and "Fumio Nanri Awards", the highest award in the world of Jazz hosted by Swing Journal Magazines.
Besides his own trio, he formed "The Windbreakers" with greatest pianists in Japan, and "Triple Piano" with Masahiko Sato and Kentaro Haneda in 1988.He is an acclaimed pianist as well as composer/arranger, a representative figure of Japan, widely accepted from all quarters. He celebrates his 24th anniversary for his own group, "The Windbreakers".
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Jack Dejohnette
Jack Dejohnette Jack began his musical career at age 4, taking classical piano lessons for the next ten years. Dejohnette played drums in high school, which later became his leading instrument. He spent his early days working in all types of bands in his hometown Chicago, from R&B to free jazz.
In 1966, Jack received national exposure with Charles Lloyd's quartet, a group which also included Keith Jarrett. His first leader album, "The Dejohnette Complex", was recorded in 1968 and in 1969, Jack replaced Tony Williams in Miles Davis' band. Here, Jack played on historic masterpiece recordings such as the "Bitches Brew" album and in various live performances.
After he left Miles' band in 1972, Dejohnette went on to form his own jazz-rock bands such as Compost, Directions, New Directions, Special Edition, and Standards Trio with Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock, which is considered to be one of the best trios ever.
Dejohnette has had some other prestigious collaborations such as Parallel Realities with Pat Metheny and Herbie Hancock, Gateway Trio with John Abercrombie and Dave Holland, and The New Standard All Stars with Herbie Hancock.
Jack Dejohnette is undoubtedly a premier percussionist and jazz drummer of our time.
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Christian McBride
Christian McBride In the fall of 1989, saxophonist Bobby Watson introduced a 17-year-old whiz kid from Philadelphia to the world of jazz. Over a decade later, that 17-year-old whiz kid has gone on to make quite a name for himself in the world of music. Christian McBride has arguably become the most acclaimed acoustic and electric bassist to emerge form the jazz world in the 1990's. While jazz lies at the root of Christian's accomplishments, it is his passion for music in a very broad sense that has made him an esteemed bassist, composer, arranger, educator, and bandleader. His passion for musical diversity has led him to work with everyone from Chick Corea to Pat Metheny, from Kathleen Battle to D'Angelo, from Diana Krall to Bruce Hornsby, from Quincy Jones to Sting, and many others. In 2000, McBride released his fourth CD, "SCI-FI", which was his most successful CD since his debut "Getting To It" was released in 1995. In 2001, McBride took on two projects that took him to even greater levels of musical diversity and popularity. "The Philadelphia Experiment" was a CD released in the summer of 2001 and was an instant success with the younger college "jam band" crowd. The CD reunited Christian with his former high school running buddy, leader of The Roots, drummer/producer Ahmir Thompson, better known to the Hip Hop community as "?uestlove". The CD also featured the exciting pianist/keyboardist Uri Caine as well as the great Pat Martino on Guitar. And later that year, pop star Sting would invite Christian to join his new band. McBride would now become one of those rare artists from the jazz world to be a part of the pop scene. Christian became a key figure in Sting's 2001 CD/DVD "All This Time".
A long as Christian McBride continues to challenge himself in all arenas, it is clear that he will continue to be a force in the music world for decades to come.
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Keiko Lee
Keiko Lee Teaching herself to play the piano at age 21, and through the experience of performing as an accompanist to jazz and chanson singers in jazz clubs in Nagoya, becomes a professional pianist subsequently.Later, she takes her new step as a jazz vocalist.Her deep voice and vocal style gives her a real presence, attracting numerous fans.
Collaborating musicians refer to her vocal performance to be "on equal footing with the sounds of musical instruments". Her voice is also acknowledged by various presses as "an unforgettable low key tones deeply penetrating into the listener's heart." Keiko is highly esteemed by her ability of improvisation and her agility of performance.

Making forays to Tokyo in '94, releases her debut album "Imagine" in the following year. In July 2001, released her 9th album, "WONDER OF LOVE", a first studio recording album with her regular performing group, Keiko Lee & The DokiDoki Monsters. In May 2005, Keiko was chosen as the best jazz vocalist 6 times in a row by Swing Journal's annual poll.

In recent years, her popularity has expanded to other Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea enjoying excellent album sales as well.
With her smash hit "We Will Rock You" (Nissan Motor Co., commercial theme) in 2002, she is ever more expanding her fan demographic. Her first Best Album "Voices" which included the English version of "DISTANCE" a duet with Dochin from the prestigious male vocalist duo, 'Chemistry', made a box-office hit with sales over 150,000.

With her ability and popularity, Keiko is highly acclaimed both at home and abroad as one of the top female jazz vocalists. Her most recent work is the album "Keiko Lee Sings Super Standard" released on October 23rd, 2002.

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Naoko Terai
Naoko Terai Studied violin since the age of four.Made her debut professionally in 1986.
Became widely noticed with her participation to the album by pianist Kenny Barron recorded in New York in 1995, which lead her to release her first album as the leader "Thinking of You" in 1998. Continuously releasing her 2nd album "Pure Moment" in the following year, she was chosen the best musician for Readers' Choice Awards Misc. Instruments in Swing Journal's annual poll (and still ranks at the top four years in a row).

She begins her year 2000 as the guest performer (soloist) at the New Year Concert of Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra. Here she releases one album after another beginning with her maxi single "Rhapsody In Blue", her third album "Princess T" produced by Lee Ritenour, and her first live recording album, "Live". Also, being awarded the Swing Journal New Star at the Jazz Disc Awards 2000, she makes her challenge into a new field as a music director for NHK's drama which was awarded the prize for excellence in TV programs division at the Media Arts Festival hosted by Agency for Cultural Affairs in year 2000.

Her challenge continues as she releases her first self-produced album (5th album) "All For You" with Richard Galliano as the guest performer, subsequently followed by her concert tour, "Naoko Terai All For You Tour 2001-2002" in eight major cities across the country.

She makes her joint performance with Richard Galliano again in 2002, at his commemorative concert for receiving the'Django d'or' Awards in Le Mans, France. Also, performs in the opening act for 'TOKYO JAZZ 2002' which leads her to joining the 'SUPER UNIT', collaboration with Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, and others with a request from Herbie Hancock. She was the first Japanese artist to specially participate in the unit.

Most recently, Naoko released her long-awaited original album, "Anthem" on February 14th, 2003.

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Takashi Matsunaga
Takashi Matsunaga Born in Ashiya, Hyogo-pref..
Takashi was introduced to jazz from an early age by his father.
Came in contact with music at age 5 where he began teaching himself to play the organ. Receives a grand prize at a musical contest at age 10 which leads him to release his first original album, "SPAIN".

Studied with Tadao KITANO, leader of "Arrow Jazz Orchestra (AJO)", a prestigious group in Kansai, since age 11. At 13, Takashi was highly praised by Hank Jones, the leading figure in the world of Jazz.

His performance as a professional pianist began at age 15 with his debut recital at Ashiya Luna Hall. Here, he had Eiji Kitamura, a representative jazz clarinet player in Japan, as the guest performer, and also "AJO" supporting him with the performance. The recital was dedicated to G. Gershwin where he played songs such as "Rhapsody in Blue".

He made his major debut with the album, "TAKASHI" (released on May 28th, 2003 from Toshiba EMI), and continues to attract increasing attention as a musician leading jazz scenes in the 21st century.

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