Born: February 21, 1945 Primary Instrument: Sax, alto
Akira Sakata was born in Kure-city, Hiroshima in 1945. Studied marine biology at Hiroshima university. Formed a group Saibo-bunretsu (Cell fission) in Tokyo in 1969, and was also performing with various free-jazz musicians during this time. Since the late 1960s, Sakata has been a constant figure in jazz and creative music scenes as an ever evolving and adventurous, multi-instrumentalist, and member of classic groups such as Yamashita Yosuke Trio, from 1972 till 1979, and Wha-ha-ha plus many of his own, like the Sakata Akira mii. He has recorded with Chris Cosey, Peter Brotzmann in Last Exit, DJ Krush, Yoshimio, and others.
In 2005 he began peforming with guitarist Jim O'Rourke, drummer Chris Corsano and acoustic bassist Darin Gray. They've since released five albums together. Friendly Pants (Family Vineyard, 2009) was the first American release by Sakata in more than 20 years. It paired the 65-year-old traveler alongside bombast Chikamorachi (Corsano/Gray) and O'Rourke as the producer.
Sakata has rarely played with such simplicity and such beauty. His characteristic sound, difficult to convey in words, has a softly buzzing, almost woody quality that fragments the more intense tones into momentary harmonics. -- Brian Morton, The Wire
Sakata can still play the hell out of the alto sax and he tears through registers with all of the beautiful force of a Noah Howard or Marion Brown. Corsano is, of course, explosive throughout, playing at breakneck speed through Sakata's wild soloing while Gray wraps his strings all the way around the kit. Excellent. -- David Keenan, Volcanic Tongue