Sadao Watanabe
WEA, 1984

July 27, 2020

Sadao Watanabe was born in Utsunomiya (Japan) in 1933 and listening to his music is like reading the 40-year history of jazz in Japan. In 1961, when he was 28 years old, his self-titled album Sadao Watanabe was his first solo record as alto saxophonist and band leader. In the following years he has produced about 60 albums. When he was young, he practiced Charlie Parker’s playing method hard, determined to become a good bebop.

From the late 1950s to the 1960s, Watanabe’s style changed to cool jazz and bossa nova. In the 1970s, his music added African elements and became one of the pioneers of world jazz music. In the 1980s, his music became electronic and fusion oriented. Since he is the most internationally renowned jazz musician in Japan, the change in his style of each period was almost equal to the change of style in the Japanese jazz scene.

Today I recommend his 1984 “Rendez vous” album, which is in his later fusion style. Among the most interesting tunes are “Rendezvous” and “I’m Yours”.

Sadao WatanabeRendezvous (WEA, 1984)

Rendezvous 5:12
Fire Fly 5:43
If I’m Still Around Tomorrow 4:20
Cool Breeze 4:43
Here’s To Love 4:37
Maraval 4:30
Love Me As I Am 4:57
I’m Yours 4:44

Line up:
Sadao Watanabe (alto)
Marcus Miller (bass)
Steve Gadd (drums)
Richard Tee (electric piano)
Eric Gale (guitar)
Roberta Flack (vocals)

Produced by Ralph MacDonald

Sadao Watanabe, Rendezvous, WEA, 1984 Records Jazzespresso Jazz Magazine – copyright 2020

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