Ryo Fukui

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Ryo Fukui
Ryo Fukui.png
Fukui at the piano, performing at "The Glee"
Background information
Birth name Ryo Fukui (福居良)
Born (1948-06-01)June 1, 1948
Biratori, Hokkaido, Japan
Died March 15, 2016(2016-03-15) (aged 67)
Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
  • Composer
  • pianist
Instruments Piano
Years active 1976–2016

Ryo Fukui (福居良, Fukui Ryo, June 1, 1948 – March 15, 2016) was a Japanese jazz pianist based in Sapporo. He played regularly at the "Slowboat" jazz club in Sapporo of which he and his wife Yasuko were the owners.

He began to teach himself the piano in 1970 at the age of 22, releasing his first album, Scenery, six years later and his second album, Mellow Dream, the year after. He continued improving his skills over the following years in live performance, often appearing in a trio and playing at the Shinjuku Pit Inn, Kichijōji "Sometime" jazz club and the "Jazz Inn Lovely" in Nagoya. A third album, My Favorite Tune, which was recorded in 1994 and was released in 1995, and has fallen into rarity, with only a few CD copies of the album known in existence. It was thought to be lost until a Youtuber by the name of Marcel The Drunkard was able to locate a copy and upload it to the YouTube's servers. It was followed by In New York four years later, in trio with the drummer Leroy Williams and the bassist Lisle Arthur Atkinson. A Letter from Slowboat is a live album released in 2015 from his time at the "Slowboat" jazz club.

Fukui received the Sapporo Culture Encouragement Prize in 2012.

Fukui died of lymphoma on March 15, 2016. After his death, his widow Yasuko Fukui has taken over the Slowboat jazz club.

Fukui has seen recognition in online culture, with a larger emergence online in 2017 and beyond. This is due in part to the rise of 'Lo-Fi Hip-Hop' and other similar sounds, leading many to find Fukui's work via suggested videos. Currently, My Favorite Tune and A Letter from Slowboat both have accrued around ~780,000 views each, with Scenery reaching 6.3 million views on Youtube as of July 2018.


Studio Albums[edit]

  • 1976: Scenery
  • 1977: Mellow Dream
  • 1995: My Favorite Tune
  • 1999: Ryo Fukui In New York
  • 2015: A Letter from Slowboat

Bootleg Albums[edit]

  • 1976: Live At Nika