Born in 1953 in Tokyo, Kazumi Watanabe was taken up with the jazz tradition in his teens, and has studied electric guitar under Sadanori Nakamure. He made his solo debut in 1971 with the album INFINITE, and was acclaimed as a promising guitar prodigy.
In 1979, he joined a group of innovative musicians such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Akiko Yano and Shuichi Murakami to form the legendary all-star band KYLYN, making an impact on the Japanese music scene. In autumn of the same year, he participated in the world tour of Yellow Magic Orchestra. Its huge success brought the name KAZUMI an international recognition.