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
InstrumentsSaxophone, Bass Clarinet, Harmonica, Guitar
Associated actsNew Directions

Kaoru Abe (阿部 薫, Abe Kaoru) (May 5, 1949 – September 9, 1978) was an influential 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. He is not to be confused with the Japanese actor Kaoru Abe.

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)

External links[edit]