Japan's Ryo Kawasaki, a musician best known for his jazz-fusion guitar and synth work, has passed away at the age of 73. His daughter confirmed his passing on Monday, April 13.
Kawasaki was a legendary guitarist and a pioneer in the world of jazz-fusion, having collaborated with many prolific artists, like Gil Evans and B.B. King. Beyond the original music he created, his work in the world of synths helped revolutionize electronic music.
In 1979, Kawasaki created the first guitar synthesizer in collaboration with Korg and Roland for the Commodore 64, the highest-selling single computer model of all time. This innovation would open the door to a whole new realm of electronic music making, giving recording artists the ability to work as a "one man band."
Additionally, Kawasaki entered the electronic music scene in the 1980s, playing techno in nightclubs throughout New York City and founding his own record label, Satellite Records. After returning to the jazz-fusion sound, Kawasaki shifted his focus to music software programming.
Kawasaki passed in his adopted hometown of Tallinn, Estonia, where he had continued performing live jazz-fusion sets up until his death last Tuesday.
H/t: Resident Advisor