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.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Kazuhiko Kato -- Today

It's definitely feeling more like autumn today. Cooler and it's been overcast for the most part although the rain has been fairly minimal. Still, pleasant enough to walk around in.

The late composer Kazuhiko Kato(加藤和彦)was one of those singer-songwriters who started his career in the J-Folk genre from the 1960s and then began to diversify through a number of other types of music. He and his buddy Osamu Kitayama(北山修)created one of the classic folk songs in Japan, "Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido"(あの素晴らしい愛をもう一度)but over a decade later, he with his second wife, lyricist Kazumi Yasui(安井かずみ), brought together one of the most famous anison, "Ai Oboeteimasuka?"(愛・おぼえていますか)for singer Mari Iijima(飯島真理).

In between, he was composing and singing a mix of folk, pop, and New Music/J-AOR numbers. I found this lovely song on YouTube from his 1978 4th album "Gardenia"(ガーディニア)simply titled "Today". Also given lyrics by Yasui, I fell for "Today" quickly since it has that lovely bossa nova melody in there along with some vocal assistance by New Music, and later, jazz singer Kimiko Kasai(笠井紀美子). It probably would be just the musical tonic for a gloomy day like today.

A lot of good backup is in there. Ryuichi Sakamoto(坂本龍一)is on keyboards, Yukihiro Takahashi(高橋幸宏)is on drums, Happy End member Shigeru Suzuki(鈴木茂)is in there with his electric guitar, Tsugutoshi Goto(後藤次利)is on bass and Nobu Saito(斉藤ノブ)is taking care of the percussion. Finally, Kato himself is handling the acoustic guitar. The J-Wiki article on "Gardenia" categorizes the album as samba/bossa nova/AOR, which would fit the period of time when singers such as Saki Kubota(久保田早紀)and Keiko Maruyama(丸山圭子)were melodically exploring Japan's impressions of foreign lands.

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