Ken Music

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Ken Music was a jazz record label based in Japan that distributed CDs in Japan, Germany, North America, and Great Britain. The company was founded by Kenichi (Ken) Fujiwara in 1989 as a subsidiary of Matsuka USA, which, among other things, manufactured industrial robotic sewing systems for car seat manufacturers. The label flourished from 1989 to 1992.[1][2]

Ken artists[edit]

Kenichi Fujiwara, founder[edit]

Executive producer

Ken Fujiwara was an avid jazz fan who had worked as a bandboy for the Count Basie Orchestra on Japanese tours. He was originally from Tamano, south of Okayama. Conrad Herwig's connection and first meeting Fujiwara was on a tour of Japan with Toshiko Akiyoshi in mid 1980s. Fujiwara became of fan of soloists Jim Snidero, Brian Lynch, and Herwig. He wanted to produce and engineer recordings. Jujiwara moved to New York City to do so.[3] Fujiwara was an employee of Matsuka Industries in Japan, a relationship that led to launching Ken Music label. Ken's office at 301 West 57th Street, Suite 26A, Manhattan, New York City,[4] was, at the time, the Matsuka USA headquarters.

Other producers

Gust Tsilis (né Gust William Tsilis; born 1956) worked for Ken Music, where he produced over 40 CDs.[1][5]

Matsuka USA Inc.[edit]

Matsuka USA Inc. incorporated in the state of New York on November 1, 1989, and changed its name on November 21, 2001, to Upright Enterprises, Incorporated. Upright (Akira Matsuka, President; Mieko M. Ajiro, Agent) registered as a foreign corporation in California on February 28, 1995 and kept its corporate domicile in New York. As of 2012, its California foreign registration was forfeited, although it is an active corporation in New York.

Foreign distribution[edit]

Ken had a distribution agreement with Bellaphon Records in Germany, which gave the Ken Artists a stronger presence in Germany and all of Europe.


The label also reissued recordings for labels that included SeaBreeze.


  1. ^ a b The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed. (3 vols.), Barry Dean Kernfeld, PhD, & Stanley Sadie (eds.), Macmillan (2002); OCLC 46956628, 5104900439
  2. ^ "Label Watch: Ken Music," JazzTimes, Vol. 22, 1992, pg. 20
  3. ^ "In Process," by Neil Andrew Tesser (born 1951), Playboy, November 1, 1991
  4. ^ Opus, Vol. 3, No. 2, 1992, pg. 728
  5. ^ "Biography of Gust William Tsilis," by Michael G. Nastos (born 1952),, Rovi Corporation