Born in Chiba, Japan, Yasushi Karasawa learned piano from his mother as a young child, and soon began the explorative process in music. His first influences were Yellow Magic Orchestra and the great Ryuichi Sakamoto, leading him to save the pocket money for a Yamaha CS-15 analog Synth and a double cassette deck for recording. As is the case, musical exploration leads one around the world to Jazz from the US, and in his case it was a borrowed record from Bill Evans that sparked his interest in Jazz piano. Studying at High School and then University, enamored with Evans and naturally Herbie Hancock, the stage was set. He performed at the Tokyo Jazz Clubs and he played in a pop band, but soon he turned to the studio and his own music with the project dubbed N’Sawa Saraca.
The simple story is familiar, but the missing piece is the depth of Karasawa’s musical understanding that comes through on his second album Another Town. One can hear Evans, and the golden age of Jazz interpreted through the lense of an eager Japanese student. And yet the groove is quite modern, with tinges of influences pushing through, like Terrace Martin or Aaron Parks. All of this is done with full respect, crafting the influences to his own discreetly interwoven and dreamlike flow. N’Sawa Saraca manages to capture all of the hefty Jazz solos within a gentle floating frame, enhanced by the flowing vocals of Raphael Sebbag from United Future organization.