Sadao Watanabe (musician)

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Watanabe at Expo Zaragoza 2008

Sadao Watanabe (渡辺 貞夫?, Watanabe Sadao) (born February 1, 1933) is a Japanese musician who plays the alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone and flute. He is known for his bossa nova recordings, although his work encompasses a large range of styles with collaborations from musicians all over the world.[1] He has had 13 albums reach the top 50 Billboard charts and 2 within the top 10.[2] He has also had numerous albums reach number one on the jazz charts.[3] Among his more prestigious awards are the Order of the Rising Sun, the imperial medal of honour for his contribution to the arts, numerous cultural awards from around the world, the Fumio Nanri award and his cities first honour award.

Born in Utsunomiya, Japan, Sadao first began learning music at the age of 18 and started performing professionally in 1953. By 1958 he had established himself as a world-class saxophonist having performed with leading musicians and quartets.[3][4] In 1962 he left Japan to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 1995 the college awarded him an honorary doctorate degree for his contributions to music.[5] In addition to his musical career, Watanabe has also published six photography books in Japan.[6]

He is also a citizen of Los Angeles, California, United States.


As leader[edit]

Year Album Title Label (Catalog) Notes
1961 Sadao Watanabe
1965 Sadao Watanabe Plays
1966 Goin' Home Modern Jazz Album Denon 30CY-1386 Toshiyuki Myama & His New Herd (excp. 3, 7) Kazuo Yashiro & His Trio (3, 7) [7]
1966 Takt Jazz Jazz & Bossa Nova
1967 Sadao Watanabe & Charlie Mariano: Iberian Waltz Denon with Charlie Mariano
1967 Nabesada & Charlie
1967 Bossa Beat Collection
1967 Jazz Samba
1967 My Romance
1967 Bossa Nova '67
1967 Bossa Nova Concert
1967 Music Break
1967 Encore!! Jazz & Bossa / Sadao Meets Sharps & Flats
1968 We Got A New Bag / Sadao and Charlie Again
1968 Sadao Meets Brazilian Friends / Sadao & Brazilian8
1968 Sadao Plays Beatles and Bacharach
1969 Swing Journal Jazz Workshop
1969 Pastoral Sony
1969 Song Book
1969 Sadao Watanabe Live At The Junk Sony
1969 Dedicated to Charlie Parker with Terumasa Hino, Masanaga Harada, Fumio Watanabe, Kazuo Yashiro
1970 Sadao Watanabe At Montreux Jazz Festival Sony
1970 Round Trip Sony with Jack DeJohnette, Miroslav Vitouš, Chick Corea
1970 Collaboration Quartet with Masabumi Kikuchi Sextet
1971 Paysages Sony
1972 Sadao Watanabe Sony
1973 Open Road Sony
1973 Kenya Ya Africa Meets Inter-African Theatre Group Sony
1974 Mbali Africa Live Sony
1974 Sadao Watanabe At “Pit Inn” Sony
1975 Swiss Air Sony
1975 Pamoja
1976 I'm Old Fashioned East Wind with The Great Jazz Trio: Hank Jones, Ron Carter, Tony Williams
1976 Sadao Watanabe Recital
1977 My Dear Life
1977 Bird Of Paradise
1977 Autumn Blow featuring Lee Ritenour & His Gentle Thoughts
1987 Birds of Passage Elektra with Ron Carter, George Duke, Hank Jones, Hubert Laws, Kazumi Watanabe, Tony Williams, Jimmy Haslip, Alex Acuña, Diana Acuna
1978 California Shower
1979 Morning Island Flying Disk (VIJ-6018) with Michael Brecker
1980 How's Everything
1981 Orange Express with Dave Grusin, George Benson, Bobby Broom, Marcus Miller, Buddy Williams
1983 Fill Up The Night with Ralph MacDonald, Richard Tee, Marcus Miller, Steve Gadd, Eric Gale, Paul Griffin, Jorge Dalto, Grady Tate
1983 Carnival with Ron Carter, Hank Jones, Tony Williams
1984 Rendezvous
1985 Maisha
1985 Parker’s Mood with Seigen Ono, James Williams, Jeff Tain Watts, Charnett Moffett
1985 Tokyo Dating
1986 Good Time For Love
1988 Elis
1988 Made In Coracao Toquinho
1989 Front Seat
1991 Sweet Deal
1992 A Night With Strings
1993 Earth Step
1994 In Tempo
1993 A Night With Strings Vol. 2
1994 A Night With Strings Vol. 3 / Sadao Plays Parker
1997 Go Straight Ahead ’n Make a Left with Bernard Wright, Charley Drayton, Mike Flythe
1997 Kuroi Hitomi Song Book
1998 Viajando
1999 Remembrance Verve with Robin Eubanks, Billy Drummond, Jim Anderson, Cyrus Chestnut, Romero Lubambo, Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton
2000 Sadao 2000
2000 Minha Saudade
2001 My Dear Life: 50th Anniversary Collection
2003 Wheel Of Life
2005 Sketches Of Nature
2005 One For You
2005 Broadcast Tracks '69-'72
2005 Sadao & Charlie Again
2007 Basie's At Night
2009 Into Tomorrow

As sideman[edit]

Year Album Artist Album Title Label (Catalog) Notes
1965 Chico Hamilton El Chico Impulse
1965 Gary McFarland The In Sound Verve


  1. ^ "Music & Nightlife". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  2. ^ "Artist Search for "sadao watanabe"". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Cityline". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  4. ^ "Sadao Watanabe". Blue Note Jazz Festival. 2014-06-25. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  5. ^ "About Berklee | Berklee College of Music". Retrieved 2013-03-17. 
  6. ^ Sadao Watanabe web site: biography (Japanese), with photos
  7. ^

External links[edit]