Musical boundaries are no barrier to Yasuaki Shimizu, who performs and composes in all fields from improvisation to classical. Born in Shizuoka, just west of Tokyo, Shimizu first attracted notice in the 1970s with his virtuosic tenor saxophone playing. He released his first solo album in 1978, and from 1980 led the progressive rock band, Mariah, whose 1983 album Utakata No Hibi was recently reissued, to critical acclaim (Pitchfork gave it a 8.5 note and called it "enchanting… an elusive classic"). Another classic Shimizu album from that period is his solo effort Kakashi (1982), reissued ths year on US label Palto Flats. From around this time, Shimizu came into demand from a diverse range of artists for his composition, production and arrangement skills. For six years from the mid-1980s, he lived and recorded in Paris and London, recording and performing with a long list of collaborators. This period yielded three albums: Subliminal (1987) with French producer Martin Meissonnier, Dementos (1988) with British artists including ex-Flying Lizards David Cunningham, and Aduna (1989), featuring Senegalese vocalist Wasis Diop, while also writing original soundtracks to films such as Juliet Berto’s Havre and contributing music to Peter Greenaway's Pillow Book.

From the mid-90s, his passion for the music of J.S. Bach surfaced in two groundbreaking recordings of the entire Cello Suites – the first-ever tenor saxophone interpretations of these pieces. He followed up in 1997 with Bach Box, which won the Japan Record Award. Since 1983 Shimizu has recorded as Yasuaki Shimizu & The Saxophonettes, though for a long time the name stood only for his solo project. In 2006 he gathered four players to re-launch the Saxophonettes as a saxophone quintet. Following the release of Pentatonica (2007), an album of original and traditional pentatonic tunes, Shimizu returned his focus to Bach. At a 2010 concert, the band performed the world’s first arrangement of the Goldberg Variations, for five saxophones and four contrabasses, releasing an album version in 2015. Shimizu is also a prolific composer for film and TV. His soundtracks include the Oscar-nominated documentary Cutie and the Boxer (2013), which also won Outstanding Achievement for Original Music Score at the Cinema Eye Honors. Shimizu’s approach to music goes beyond composition and performance. He views physical space as an extension of his instrument, and often makes use of unique acoustic environments in which to record and play.


Four cult Crammed albums to be reissued on vinyl

Starting with Yasuaki Shimizu's legendary 1987 album "Music For Commercials"

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YASUAKI SHIMIZU - Music For Commercials
Music For Commercials

SOUNDS, Visuals & More

Contains videos & live footage, free mp3s & streams, pictures, press quotes & clippings, and maybe even personal contributions from the artist.