||Ryouichi Kitada |
Ryoichi Kitada was born in 1964 in Morioka City, Japan. He studied classic piano under Atsushi Shibuya, and Electone under Kouko Tabata and Kyoko Kubo. While in high school, he entered the Tohoku Region Electone Contest. Upon graduation from high school, he started his music career. His main genre has been jazz but he is comfortable with most genres of music. He is active in arranging and recording music as well as performing for TV, radio and live concerts. He plays traditional Japanese folk music as well as contemporary music.
In 1991 his jazz band, Trio Music, released a CD titled [Caravan] Kiyoshi Koyama, a former Swing Journal editor and jazz critic, wrote liner notes, and the CD's high musical quality drew a great deal of attention. Later, in 2002, Swing Journal featured the CD again as a masterpiece in a special edition entitled PIANO TRIO. Nonk Tonk, a jazz house in Morioka City, was Ryoichiﾕs main venue, but he also performed outside of Iwate Prefecture.
In 1995 his jazz band Trio Music 2 entered the Yokohama Jazz Promenade / Jazz Competition. This was their first time to compete in a major competition held in a Metropolitan area. But it was here that they won two major awards: the Grand Prix Award and the Yokohama Citizen's Award, with high praise from the judges, Toshiko Akiyoshi and Akira Sakata. Their performance was broadcast on an NHK satellite broadcast program as well as on a Kanagawa TV special. The following year the trio performed numerous times in the Metropolitan area. Later, in 1997 and 2002, the band was invited to perform in gala concerts featuring former award winners.
Ron Carter, a master jazz bassist, and Lewis Nash, one of the world's greatest jazz drummers, heard Ryoichi's piano, and a collaboration stage was held in October, 1999 in Kitakami City in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. Ron Carter had played with the late Miles Davis' Quintet, and is still actively involved in the forefront of the music world. Lewis Nash performs not only in New York, but is a popular figure worldwide. Local Japanese talent collaborating with such great musicians was considered to be a great achievement in Japan's jazz scenes. In 2003, Ryoichi was invited to play a duo piano concert with worldly renowned figures Cyrus Chestnut and Bruce Barth. Bruce Barth is a former instructor at Berklee College of Music and is known for having written the sound track for the movie Malcolm X.
Since 2001, Ryoichi has been in charge of music in the [History of Showa Music] by Tsuyoshi Ito, a music critic and current chair of the Japan Record Award screening committee.
In October, 2003, Iwate Broadcasting Company celebrated their 50th anniversary. Ryoichi was invited to write and perform music for their anniversary DVD entitled [IHATOV Rodoku Kiko by Hoko Kuwashima: Gingatetsudo-no-Yoru and Haru-to-Shura by Kenji Miyazawa] and a CD entitled [FURUSATO Togenkyo IHATOV-no-Shiki] Both were released by Columbia Music Entertainment.
In 2005 Ryoichi joined a duo tour with Hiroyuki Kurosawa and Takayuki Matsuda who, together, had won the Tsugaru-Jamisen National Contest three consecutive times. In the same year, Ryoichi performed in many localities with Tenchijin, a group formed by Jiro Oma who had been a former Off Course band member. Hiroyuki Kurosawa and Shinobu Osawa were the other two Tenchijin members. The theme song for NHK Akita's evening TV program [Terebi Komachi] was also written by Ryoichi in 2005.
In 2007, he joined the Kinohachi Ukrainian Tour, where they offered a dedicatory concert at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster site. Other noted performances in 2007 were a concert at Ueno Nogai Music Hall and a live performance with jazz guitarist Yosuke Onuma.
The year 2008 was an eventful year for Ryoichi: He took part in the recording of [Togenkyo] written to celebrate the reuniting of the band formerly called [Himegami Sensation] He joined Kinohachi's Russian tour and performed at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory as well as the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. He released an album entitled [Tami no Uta] produced by Kinohachi. He did arrangements for and performed with Shinichi Kinoshita, Japan's leading Tsugaru-Jamisen player, and other noted young Tsugaru-Jamisen players in the Japanese folksong field. He performed a CD single, [Sora e] which was released as an image song for Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, listed on UNESCO's World Heritage list. He also arranged and performed for a CD single, [Human Being] with Tenchijin, a band led by former Off Course drummer, Jiro Oma.
In 2009, Ryoichi arranged and performed for Tenchijin's 2nd album [Toi Sora] He also did an arrangement of [Tawarazumi Uta] for the NHK TV program [Sore Ike Minyo] for which he received nationwide acclaim. Also in 2009 he played for jazz vocalist Marika Hiraga on her Tohoku tour.
At present, Ryoichi teaches jazz piano, band keyboard, and popular piano at Yamaha Popular Music School. He also performs with his jazz piano trio [Back to the Basic] in Iwate Prefecture and many other areas nationwide. He enjoys writing and arranging music, and offers his talent to many other musicians. He has also been a popular FM Iwate radio personality, and his program [All That Jazz] has been aired for 25 years, since the beginning of the radio station. [All That Jazz] is on the air every other Sunday at 8:00 pm.
special thanks Randy Checketts,Akiko Watanabe