Kaoru Abe

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Kaoru Abe
阿部 薫
Born(1949-05-05)May 5, 1949
Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan
DiedSeptember 9, 1978(1978-09-09) (aged 29)
Nakano, Tokyo, Japan
GenresFree jazz, avant-garde
Instrument(s)Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Harmonica, Guitar

Kaoru Abe (阿部 薫, Abe Kaoru) (May 5, 1949 – September 9, 1978) was a Japanese avant-garde alto saxophonist. Self-taught at a young age, Abe performed with notables such as Motoharu Yoshizawa, Takehisa Kosugi, Yosuke Yamashita, Derek Bailey, and Milford Graves,[1] although he generally performed solo. He was married to the author Izumi Suzuki, and was a cousin to singer Kyu Sakamoto. He was portrayed in Kōji Wakamatsu's film Endless Waltz by novelist and punk rock singer Kō Machida.

Personal life[edit]

Abe dropped out of highschool in 1967, at 17 years of age, to focus on perfecting his playing, and in 1968, he did his first performance, at a jazz spot named Oreo. In 1970, he met Masayuki Takayanagi. in 1971, he met Izumi Suzuki, and in 1973, they married. In 1976, they had a daughter. However, in 1977, they divorced.


Abe was prolific, appearing almost every day to jazz spots and concerts. His library consists almost entirely of archival and live recordings, however he has recorded in a studio.

In his later years, Abe would begin playing different instruments. In 1976-1978 to be specific, were his years of most exploration. However, there have been instances of him playing harmonica in 1970-1971. He also played bass clarinet all the way throughout his career.


Abe died from Bromisoval overdose in 1978, causing an acute gastric perforation.


  1. ^ Sugiyama, Kazunori (2002). "Abe, Kaoru". In Barry Kernfeld (ed.). The new Grove dictionary of jazz (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 3. ISBN 1561592846.
  • Yuko Morita (ed.). Abe Kaoru march 1980. Tokyo: Bunyusha, 1994 (Japanese)
  • Soejima Teruto. Nihon furii jazu shi (日本フリージャズ史, The History of Japanese Free Jazz). Tokyo: Seidosha, 2002 (Japanese)

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