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Take Five with Shinobu Ito

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Meet Shinobu Ito: Shinobu met Toshiko Akiyoshi in 1975, who introduced him to many musicians and strongly suggested to him that he go to New York to learn and play jazz on his next visit to the States.

When he returned to Japan in 1975, He resumed activities with many top class Japanese musicians. He also had opportunities to play with Tete Montreux, Bill Reichenbach, Ronnie Foster, Stanley Banks and others. Shinobu returned to the United States in 1977 and settled in New York City. He joined Teruo Nakamura and his Rising Sun Band and became involved in various other musical activities mostly in the New York area.

He has ever released five of his own CDs. Also in 2002, Shinobu performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival with renowned guitarist Ryo Kawasaki.

Since April 2005, Shinobu has been teaching at Senzoku Gakuen College of Music/Jazz Division in Japan.

He returned to New York City in January 2007 and has resumed activities mostly in Harlem. Also he is preparing for a new CD recording which will include twelve new original compositions.

Instrument(s): Guitar.

Teachers and/or influences? Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Pat Martino, George Benson.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I was in high school.

Your sound and approach to music: Contemporary style with warm and fat sound.

Your teaching approach: Try to let them have own style.

Your dream band: I choose backup musicians for my compositions.

Anecdote from the road: One drummer couldn't read the score, so he played two bars behind to the end of the song.

Favorite venue: A packed, medium-size house.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? One Life To Live. A lot of energy is there.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? Timbre first. Try to speak instead of playing hundreds of notes.

Did you know... I'm also a electronics engineer.

How do you use the internet to help your career? I spend 4-5 hours to search, communicate etc.

CDs you are listening to now: Shinobu Ito, Sailing Rolling (Jazzbank); Shinobu Ito, One Life to Live (Jazzbank); Shinobu Ito, Dedicated to Baden Powell and Anotonio Lauro (Jazzbank); Shinobu Ito, Serenata (Jazzbank); Shinobu Ito, Musica Para Enamorados (Jazzbank).

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Down. It's not what we used to call jazz anymore.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Every musician has to have a solid statement when making his/her own CD.

What is in the near future? Focusing on all-original songs of mine.

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