by Enrique Alonso, photos courtesy of Yosuke Sato
I immediately grabbed my phone after the musicians were introduced at the end of the show to note who he was and as a “note to self”to do some deeper research about Yosuke Sato.
I didn’t find a great deal of info about him on the net, something which I found incredibly strange considering his talent, so I attempted to contact him for a short interview, Having succeeded in contacting him all I can say is that during my interview with Yosuke, I found an extremely kind and very modest person. I greatly enjoyed my conversations with him.
EA: When did you first begin seriously studying your instrument? Where? With who?
YS: I bought my first saxophone when I was 26 years old with my first bonus from the company I was working for at the time. I was already playing guitar and trumpet so I knew what I wanted to do on saxophone. Finding time to practice then was not easy due to the fact I was working as a day job at the time. Several years later I quit the job so I could practice more, and started working with local musicians in the city Sapporo located in the northen part of Japan. I learned so much from those musicians but never had the opportunity to have a formal music education, I’m totally self taught. In fact I learned from CD’s and books.
EA: What does New York city mean to you and why?
YS: New York used to be the dream place to be as a jazz musician. While still living in Japan, I really wanted to be there, I think most of jazz musicians do. Believe me, it sure is a great place to be, so much stimulation and opportunity. Now NY is my hometown. It’s the place I come back to after tours, the place where my wife is waiting for me and the place that gives me the ease and time to develop my musicianship. I feel really happy when taking a walk around my neighborhood with my wife early in the morning.
EA: What players would you say have had the biggest influence on your playing?
YS: It’s hard to pick just one musician who gave me the most but if I have to choose one I would say Julian Cannonball Adderley is the one. I really had been trying to play like him for a long time and then one day I realized it’s impossible. Still even now, every time I listen to him, he makes me feel like I want to play that way. I never have got bored of his music.
EA: What are some of the memorable experiences you have had traveling around the world with Porter’s Quintet?
YS: This tour with him is such a present and progressive thing that all memories seem to pass by without leaving any trace, it’s just like one gig after another. I think we have done more than 250 gigs this year. The most memorable thing for me at the moment might be the gig we played last night. I always hope audience there enjoys our show as much as possible. When I feel like I could have been better, it really sticks in my mind.
EA: Where do you think your art is going?
YS: It must come back to my body. I believe this is a basic principle for all artists who perform in public. Each of us has such a unique body that makes our artistic expression the one and only, so I’m always trying to mind what and how I eat. Still I have to say that I still enjoy a bottle of beer after the gig.