Japanese guitarist and synth pioneer Ryo Kawasaki dies aged 73

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  • His daughter confirmed the news of his death this week.
  • Japanese guitarist and synth pioneer Ryo Kawasaki dies aged 73 image
  • Ryo Kawasaki has died at age 73. The Japanese musician was best known as a virtuosic jazz fusion guitarist, starting out in Japan in the '60s before moving New York in the '70s—where he worked with artists like Elvin Jones and Gil Evans—but his work encompassed everything from hip-hop to software programming over the decades. He invented the first guitar synthesizer in 1979, pioneered one man band-style recording and also made synthesizers for home use with the Commodore 64. In the late '80s, he would dip his toes into dance music, running a label called Satellite Records and playing at nightclubs around New York City. He later moved to Estonia and turned back towards jazz, making music and performing live up until his death. Kawasaki's daughter confirmed the news in a Facebook post yesterday. He died in his adopted hometown of Tallinn, according to Estonia's public broadcaster ERR. Listen to "Hawaiian Caravan," from 1982.
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