Yuto Kanazawa is a 26-year-old jazz guitarist from Japan. Tokyo-born and raised in Fukushima, Yuto attended the Koyo Conservatory before moving to Boston, Massachusetts to study at the world-renowned Berklee College of Music. There he studied all genres of music - with a special focus on the art of jazz - with professionals such as Mick Goodrick, Tim Miller, Hal Crook, Dave Santoro, Greg Hopkins, and Phil Wilson. It was there that his love of jazz music fully emerged.
After graduating from Berklee in 2009, Yuto toured Japan and performed at the Hamamatsu Jazz Festival. His hip band also regularly appears in shows and club in greater Boston. In early 2013, Yuto moved to New York City to support the release of his debut album, “Earthwards”.
The album features fresh, up-and-coming jazz cannons like saxophonist Mario Castro from Puerto Rico and clarinetist Felix Peikli from Norway. In the rhythm section, Connecticut-born upright bassist Zwelakhe-Duma Bell le Pere is joined by drummer Jonathan Pinson, from Los Angeles. Felix is currently gigging with the great drummer, Ralph Peterson, Jr. And in March 2013, Jonathan will join jazz legend Wayne Shorter on his tour of Japan.
“Earthwards” also features a guest appearance by the great jazz vocalist Kurt Elling. Elling’s rich baritone spans four octaves and features both astonishing technical mastery as well as true emotional depth. In “Truth & the Abstract Blues”, Kurt showcases his immense talent and sensitivity. The lyrics were written by bassist Dave D’aranjo, who produced “Earthwards” with Yuto through his record label, Interrobang Records.
Released on February 13th, 2013, “Earthwards” is a powerful statement in contemporary jazz. It is also potently intimate. The song “The Ocean” musically reflects Yuto’s feelings in the aftermath of the Fukushima tsunami disaster, which devastated his home city. Through his compositions, Yuto Kanazawa has offered his listeners a glimpse into his life story - with the hope that they make his music part of their own. It is a standout debut album for all jazz lovers to check out.