I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tib Kamayatsu -- Tokyo Rag

Way early this morning...just past midnight...I wrote up a memorial article of sorts for musician Hiroshi 'Monsieur' Kamayatsu (かまやつひろし) who had passed away on March 1st. Reading about him, I found out that his father was a jazz singer and musician by the name of Tib Kamayatsu/ティーブ・釜萢 (1911-1980). It was quite the interesting story as well.

Tib was born Tadashi Kamayatsu(釜萢正)as a 2nd-generation Japanese-American in Los Angeles, California. Growing up, he developed a love for music and started playing the banjo and guitar to later perform. In fact, he was involved in a Nisei jazz band but with the clouds of war amassing at the time, Kamayatsu sailed across to Japan where he performed as a bass player and jazz singer.

Although J-Wiki has a fairly good description of Kamayatsu Senior's life, unfortunately there was pretty much nothing on his discography there or anywhere online. In fact, I couldn't even find out when his "Tokyo Rag" came out. He started his singing career in the late 1930s so I'm just gonna have to wing it with 1935. However, he has been described as one of the pioneers of jazz in Japan and when he set up his own jazz school after World War II, he gained a number of students who would become stars in their own right such as Mickey Curtis (ミッキー・カーチス), Masaaki Hirao(平尾昌晃)and Mieko Hirota(弘田三枝子).

The other intriguing thing about listening to Tib is that remembering how his son, Hiroshi, sang and spoke on TV, the elder Kamayatsu sounded quite similar.

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