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Der in Japan geborene Komponist kehrte nach seiner Ausbildung in westlicher Klassik über die Bambusflöte Shakuhachi zurück zu den Quellen seiner heimatlichen Kultur. Traditionelle, dynamisch-virtuose Solostücke und eigene Kompositionen für Shakuhachi (Yoshizava), Koto, Biwa, Gitarre (Osamu Kitajima) und Schlaginstrumente (Geoffrey Hales). Zengeist in unserer Zeit. Der nächste Moment ist nicht voraushörbar.

the project

In Kyori, Japan's ancient musical traditions are shaded with western tones and influences. The result is a resonant, rhythmical and mysterious confluence of cultures.

The man whose innervisions come to life on this recording is Masakazu Yoshizawa. His desire was to blend the best of his own Japanese cultural roots with the best of the Eastern-style musical conventions in which he was educated. He succeeds beautifully, combining traditional themes and instruments in an arrestingly modern style. Yoshizawa who is a composer as well as a performer, plays the shakuhachi (bamboo flute). Two of the pieces are his intriguing solo compositions, one titled Conceptualism (Johakyu) and the other Mainstreams to Oneness (Kawai). Two other titles are fascinating ensemble pieces, Immortality (Fuma) and Divine Silhouettes (Yogo). For these, Yoshizawa brought in Osamu Kitajima to play acoustic guitar, koto and biwa, and Geoffrey Hales to play percussion. Once again, Yoshizawa aims to blend Japanese sensibility with Western idioms.

With Kyori, Masakazu Yoshizawa creates fresh and innovative music using traditional Japanese instruments. The result is a dramatic atmosphere of movement and mystery, shadow and light.

the artist

Masakazu Yoshizawa (September 10, 1950 – October 24, 2007) was a Japanese American flutist and musician, known for his mastery of the bamboo flute, specifically the shakuhachi. He also mastered several other traditional Japanese flutes, in addition to other Japanese and Western musical instruments. He was onsidered a scholar of ancient and modern Japanese traditional music. His work and music were featured in a number of major Hollywood studio films and soundtracks, including The Joy Luck Club and Memoirs of a Geisha.

Yoshizawa moved from Japan to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. He initially worked as a musician, often as a clarinet and saxophone player. However, when he was specifically requested to play the shakuhachi for a certain job, it sparked his interest in the instrument, as well as in Japanese music.Yoshizawa returned to Japan to take shakuhachi lessons before moving back to California.He began to be hired as a shakuhachi player for film and television, which quickly converted his passion for Japanese music into a full fledged career.Yoshizawa explained the interest that film and television producers had in his music in a 2005 interview with the Cultural News, a web site that focuses on Japan-themed films: "they wanted a sound that Western music didn't have . . . that was new and fit the film."

Yoshizawa ultimately played the shakuhachi on dozens of different movies and television shows.His early movie credits included the Karate Kid sequels and the 1993 film, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Yoshizawa began his collaboration with acclaimed film composer, John Williams, on Steven Spielberg's 1993 blockbuster, Jurassic Park. He once told the Cultural News web site that Williams asked him to play the shakuhachi for Jurassic Park because the instrument "sounds like a dinosaur's cry."

Masakazu Yoshizawa died at his home in San Gabriel, California, of stomach cancer on October 24, 2007. John Williams released a statement to the Los Angeles Times following Yoshizawa's death: "Masa was a brilliant musician and a very important member of the orchestra, and he will be greatly missed."


  Conceptualism (Johaku)  
1 Jo/To Begin 2'26"
2 Ha/To Destroy 1'44"
3 Kyu/To Hurry 1'55"
4 Immortality (Fuma) 13'03"
5 Mainstreams to Oneness (Kawai) 7'51"
6 Divine Silhouettes (Yogo) 11'27"
  Total Time: 38'37"