Masaya Yamaguchi, musician, educator; July 18, 1970.
Masaya Yamaguchi was born as a second son in Nagano at birth and bred in Tokyo, Japan. During the mid-80's, he started playing the guitar in rock/pop style (the ridiculous affair still comes to his mind now and then). Yamaguchi became interested in jazz through a TV commercial [of "Suntory White"] by Japan's renowned distiller, which misleadingly featured the jazz bassist, Ronald Carter.
Yamaguchi made his first purchase of a traditional 4-beat jazz album, which
was John Coltrane's Giant Steps. At the age of 20, Yamaguchi changed his
guitar style completely into jazz under the strong influence of John
Coltrane--developing his own guitar style by all fourths tuning (E, A,
D, G, C, F from the bottom to the top). He also began to explore the
imaginative formation of musical scales while majoring in English at Meikai
University, Chiba, Japan (B.A. 1994). At the age of 26, he decided to study
in the jazz program at the City College of New York where his idol, Ron
Carter, directed; however, Yamaguchi was distressed about power harassment
from some faculty members. During his college years, he performed with Chico
O'Farrill's son, Arturo O'Farrill in the Graduate Jazz Ensemble. Whereas he
was tormented by tendonitis, he professionally began to transcribe the
recorded performances by John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. In
the end of 20th century, Yamaguchi became the first native
Japanese who completed their Master program in jazz performance from the
City College of New York (M.A. 1999).
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