Jazz fusion guitarist Ryo Kawasaki was born in Toyko, Japan, on February 25, 1947. Although he originally planned on becoming a scientist, Kawasaki put an end to his studies early on and concentrated solely on guitar, playing with a variety of Japanese jazz groups throughout the '60s. During the early '70s, Kawasaki had relocated to the United States (New York, to be exact), where he played regularly with such jazz notables as Gil Evans, Elvin Jones, Chico Hamilton, and JoAnne Brackeen, and issued such solo releases as Juice, Ring Toss, and Nature's Revenge. Although he would issue several albums during the '80s (Little Touree, Ryo, Lucky Lady, etc.), Kawasaki had turned his back on musical performance and concentrated solely on penning music software programs for computers. Kawasaki also formed his own record label, Satellites Records, as he produced techno dance singles, but eventually returned back to his first love, releasing a steady stream of jazz releases once more, starting in the early to mid-'90s (Love Within the Universe, Sweet Life, Cosmic Rhythm, Reval, etc.).
Reissue with the latest remastering. Features original cover artwork. Comes with a descripton in Japanese. A wonderful little record from pianist Joanne Brackeen – unlike anything the artist ever recorded, as it's just a set of duets with guitarist Ryo Kawasaki, who brings in some really beautiful elements to the mix! Ryo plays an acoustic nylon string guitar, but with a dexterity that most other players would use on electric – and the balance of his instrument with Brackeen's piano is sublime – full of colors and imaginative tones, but also a fair degree of rhythmic impulses too – which guide the duo in ways that are completely refreshing throughout!
One of the dangers anytime an artist decides to forgo the organic approach and back his primary instrument with electronic effects is relying too much on the machinery. Fortunately, Ryo Kawasaki, as strong a producer as he is a lyrical electric guitar master, makes sure his silky urban rhythms on Sweet Life are simply an enhancement, rather than a burden, to his fluid lines. Whether the track is straight-out funk, smooth late-night seduction, or a loping ride like the title cut, his hypnotic synth lines simply set the mood. Kawasaki's plucky, winding way with a melody is textured over that, working its way toward varying degrees of emotional resonance. While the fully plugged-in mode carries the majority of the collection, Kawasaki earns his most memorable kudos for the simple and sparse acoustic gems, a lush cover of Janet Jackson's "Again" and on "Sweet Life," which improvises a flamenco-like edge over fingersnap percussion that sounds more real than machine-generated.