Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Togashi, Masahiko

Togashi, Masahiko, drummer, percussionist, composer, b. Tokyo, 22 March 1940. Father was violinist and cellist.

Togashi learned drums while a band boy for Charlie Ishikuro's Tokyo Panchos, made his pro debut at 14. Togashi was an original member of the Jazz Academy in 1961 but not a co-founder. His own free-jazz group played at Gallery 8 starting in 1965. Played in Sadao Watanabe's group after Watanabe returned from Berklee, 1966-68. Joined trio with Masahiko Sato when the latter returned from Berklee in 1969, and performed on the Palladium LP. 

Togashi spoke for a generation of Japanese jazz musicians who tired of emulating American superstars when he dubbed his 1969 album We Now Create. A spinal injury in January 1970 left him paralyzed from the waist down, but he used his convalescence to further develop his musical ideas, particularly by incorporating what he regarded as Japanese or "Oriental" elements into his music: "I want to try to create a music so that Japanese, foreigners, or anybody who hears it can feel that this is something peculiar to Japanese people."

Togashi designed an eclectic new drum set that he plays from his wheel chair.

He has led the J.J. (Japanese Jazz) Spirits and is the recipient of two Japan Jazz Prizes.

Recordings:
We Now Create: Music for Strings, Winds, and Percussions (1969); Follow the Dream (1984); Bura-Bura (with Don Cherry, Steve Lacy, Ed Blackwell, 1986); Essence of Jazz (1987);
Masahiko Togashi & J.J. Spirits Live (1992)
As sideperson:
Steve Lacy: Eternal Duo (1981), Eternal Duo '95 (1995)

By ATKINS

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