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Kaoru Watanabe: a rare musician who traverses the traditional music forms both East and West, classical and contemporary, predetermined and improvisational. His expertise in taiko drumming and bamboo flutes gives his music both force with extreme delicacy. His superb musicianship makes him a joy to create with. He enriches any musical situation with his unique perspective.
— Jason Moran (Jazz Pianist, Blue Note Recording Artist)
 

Hello friends and family!

 

I had a wonderful year with much traveling across the US and Japan, making music with various folks: The Silk Road Ensemble, Marika Hughes, Marvin Sewell, Imani Uzuri, Adam Rudolph, Agatsuma Hiromitsu, Semba Kiyohiko among many others. 

Next year, I have some exciting things in the works- trips to Argentina, Brazil, Japan and all over the US (including Alaska!) as well as the release of my newest album, tentatively planned for sometime in late February/early March. The recording process is done and now I just need to work on the artwork, liner notes, figure out a title, etc etc. I'm very excited to be sharing this music -  it's basically a cumulation of how my art has evolved over the last couple of decades - almost all original compositions with a heavy emphasis on structured improvisations. On the recording, I am joined by Barbara Merjan, Fumi Tanakadate and Sayun Chang, all of whom I've spent a lot of time teaching and working with over the past few years. The album was recorded, mixed and edited by my good friend Marc Urselli, a Grammy winning producer and engineer. More on that album soon!

Finally, for your viewing pleasure- here's a clip from the summer, performing with fellow faculty members Shane Shanahan, Sandeep Das and Edward Perez at Silk Road Ensemble's Global Musicians Workshop a composition of mine called Bloodlines. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Pp7nZPhENo

Happy New Years!

Kaoru


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