Today we’re listening to Sadao Watanabe, a Japanese jazz saxophonist and flautist from Utsunomiya who turned 90 yesterday. Growing up in postwar Japan he was exposed to jazz at an early age, initially gravitating toward clarinet.1 In the early ‘50s he picked up sax and flute, and in ‘62 enrolled at Berklee College of Music in Boston. There he picked up all kinds of influences but perhaps the strongest one was bossa nova. We’re playing the languid, romantic 1969 record Plays Ballads (Live), as well as the breezy 1979 album Morning Island. In 2021, Watanabe released his 81st album, Live at Suntory Hall.2
Have a great Thursday.