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Maki Asakawa - Darkness II (1996)


Jazz and blues vocalist, lyricist, and composer Maki Asakawa was born in 1942 in Ishikawa Prefecture.  After a short stint working at the town office in her small village, she headed for Tokyo to pursue music.  She started by playing at United States military bases and cabarets, where she refined her style, which was largely informed by Billie Holiday and Mahalia Jackson.  Asakawa released her first EP, Tokyo Banka, on the Victor imprint in 1967.  In 1968, Asakawa got her big break when she appeared for three days running at the Shinjuku underground theater known as Sasoriza, a project of underground playwright Shuji Terayama.  Shortly thereafter, she signed with Toshiba (currently EMI Music Japan), making her official major label debut in July 1969 with Yo ga aketara / Kamome.  Since then, Asakawa has consistenly released music and appeared live, garnering praise for her unique interpretation of jazz and blues. She has collaborated with Yosuke Yamashita and Akira Sakata, and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto among others.  Asakawa died on January 17, 2010. (source)

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