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‘Japanese Satchmo’ Yoshio Toyama Honored in Birthplace of Jazz

Yoshio Toyama, Keiko Toyama

Jazz musician Yoshio Toyama, second from right, plays with wife Keiko Toyama and other members of the Dixie Saints in New Orleans on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. Known as the “Japanese Sachmo” for his devotion to jazz great Louis Armstrong, Toyama and the group played at Satchmo Summerfest, held annually to mark Armstrong’s birthday. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Trumpeter Yoshio Toyama and his wife Keiko moved to the United States 50 years ago to learn about traditional jazz in its birthplace, New Orleans. Nightclubs, churches, house parties, and jazz funerals became their classroom.

The lessons took: Singing with a gravelly voice like the late Louis Armstrong and blowing the trumpet in Armstrong’s style, Toyama returned home to make a life of playing jazz. And the man now known as the “Japanese Satchmo” recently found out just how much he’s revered by New Orleans’ musical community during what could be his band’s final gig in the city.

Performing during an annual French Quarter music festival that marks Armstrong’s birthday, Satchmo Summerfest, Toyama was given what amounts to a lifetime achievement award noting both his music and his ties to New Orleans, including his work to donate at least 850 musical instruments and more than $130,000 to help musicians and music education in the city.

Janice Foulks, a board member of the nonprofit French Quarter Festivals Inc., presented Toyama with the “Spirit of Satchmo” award before he performed with his band the Dixie Saints, which includes his wife on banjo and piano.

“We love him. He is such a part of New Orleans,” said Foulks. Toyama, who lives with his wife in metro Tokyo, had one of the largest crowds during the three-day festival, which draws heavily upon local jazz fans … (read more)

via The Japan News

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