Yōsuke Yamashita (山下 洋輔, Yamashita Yōsuke, born 26 February, 1942) is a Japanese jazz pianist, composer and writer. He is praised by critics for his unique piano style, which is influenced by free jazz, modal jazz and soul jazz.
Since the late 1980s Yamashita's main group has consisted of Cecil McBee (bass), Pheeroan akLaff (drums), and often Joe Lovano (saxophone).
Yamashita was born in Tokyo on 26 February, 1942. He had violin lessons between the ages of 9 and 15, and switched to piano in his teens.
Later life and career:
Yamashita first played piano professionally in 1959, at the age of 17, and attended the Kunitachi College of Music from 1962 to 1967. In the early 1960s he "was part of a group, with Terumasa Hino and Masabumi Kikuchi, that met at a jazz club called Gin-Paris ... to play and discuss jazz every night". Yamashita's first released recording was in 1963, and he became a pioneer of avant-garde and free jazz. In 1969, he formed the Yosuke Yamashita Trio. In 1974, the trio of Yamashita, Akira Sakata (alto sax) and Takeo Moriyama (drums) went on the first of a series of successful European tours, which helped spread beyond Japan Yamashita's and the trio's reputation as driving, fully committed free jazz musicians. The trio broke up in 1983.
In the 1980s, Yamashita formed the "New York Trio" with bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Pheeroan akLaff. In 1994 he was invited to perform at the 50th anniversary concert of jazz label Verve, held at Carnegie Hall. He provided the music for films such as Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands and Dr. Akagi. He has also led a big band "that combined swing music with free jazz". He has been a visiting professor of music at Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, Nagoya University of Arts, and his alma mater, Kunitachi College of Music, in addition to publishing work on improvisation and music.
In 1990, he was awarded the Fumio Nanri award.,
In 1999, at the Mainichi Film Concours he was awarded "Best Film Score" for Dr. Akagi.,
In 2003, he was awarded the Imperial Medal of Honor by the Japanese government for his contributions to the arts and academia.
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