Tsuyoshi Niwa

soprano sax / flute / tenor sax / bass clarinet / composition

It was when he went to a school trip to the town hall and heard the live trumpet sound for the first time that he got seriously interested in playing music. He was ten. And, he successfully convinced his parents to get him the instrument. He practiced very hard. But, despite its simple appearance, the trumpet was physically too demanding for a skinny boy. He tried the trombone, but it wasn’t as exciting. Finally, he became an alto saxophonist for his high school’s jazz band. Fingering is more complex, but he enjoyed the challenge. It’s probably his nature to enjoy problem solving as he had already become a young computer programmer since we was 10.

In college, he majored in chemistry. He enjoyed the science to a certain extent, but the closer he got to his graduation, the clearer it became that his true passion was music. So, as soon as he graduated, he applied, again, to, this time, become a music student. As he passed an audition at the New School Jazz Program, he moved to New York and studied with George Garzone, Phil Markowitz, Reggie Workman, Dave Liebman and many other jazz greats. When Tsuyoshi decided to record his debut album, Phil Markowitz offered to produce it as he commended Tsuyoshi’s uniquely strong originals and his distinct style in soprano saxophone performance. Matt Wilson and Tony Marino joined in, and recorded “Sequence X” together. 

In 2003, Amalia Gre took notice of him and hired him as her saxophonist. She flew him over to Italy and recorded her first major album together. Eventually, Tsuyoshi moved to Italy to support Amalia’s national tour. In the meantime, Alfamusic invited him to record his own album. 

After completing Italian gigs, Tsuyoshi went back to Japan and started his new band. A national radio program, “Session” by NHK-FM featured his original music for an entire episode. 

In 2011, Tsuyoshi moved back to NY and recorded with Randy Brecker for his 4th album. The release party was held at the Blue Note New York.

 

東京都出身。10歳からトランペットを始め、中学時代はトロンボーンを、高校1年からアルトサックスを演奏する。大学では化学を専攻しウーロン茶中の残留農薬の分析を行ったが、卒業以前に進路を音楽に決めていた丹羽は、卒業後ニューヨークのニュースクール音大を受験し、合格する。

1995年に渡米。ニューヨークではサックスをジョージ・ガゾーンとデイヴ・リーブマンに、作曲をフィル・マルコヴィッツに師事。スティーブ・レイシーに影響を受け、この頃からソプラノサックスのみを演奏するようになる。丹羽の個性豊かなオリジナル曲を高く評価したフィル・マルコヴィッツ(p)のプロデュースの元、ドラムにマット・ウィルソン、ベースにトニー・マリーノという強力な布陣を敷いたアルバム「Sequence X」でプロデビューする。第2作「Internal Dance」ではオーティス・ブラウン3世(ds)、レオ・ターディン(p)、イアン・リッグス(b)らと共演。ライブ活動ではロバート・グラスパー(p)らとも共演する。

2003年にアマリア・グレの正式サポートメンバーになった丹羽は4ヶ月間のイタリア全国ツアーに参加し、自身も第3作となる「Internal Dance (Alfamusic盤)」を制作。イタリアツアー終了後、ニューヨークには戻らずに本帰国する。

日本では、小山太郎ds、佐瀬正b、加藤英介pらと精力的にライブ活動を行い、NHK FM「セッション505」などに出演。

2011年6月、再度渡米。2回目のニューヨーク活動ではランディー・ブレッカー、ビリー・キルソン、フィル・パロンビ、井上祐一らを迎え、第4作「At the End of the Day」を録音。発表記念ライブをNYブルーノートで行った。