Crowdfunding can help the ailing Japanese pianist-composer Masabumi Kikuchi

Crowdfunding can help the ailing Japanese pianist-composer Masabumi Kikuchi

Before the days of the internet, people may have often wondered how one could help a musician struggling with health or financial issues. Now, with crowdfunding available, it’s possible to not only pledge toward an album release or a tour, but also give back in a longer-lasting way to the artists whose work has shaped the fabric of our creative world. A longtime resident of New York, pianist Masabumi Kikuchi was born in Tokyo in 1939, and in the fertile 60s and 70s he worked to shape Japanese jazz and improvised music alongside trumpeter Terumasa Hino, saxophonist Sadao Watanabe, guitarist Masayuki “Jojo” Takayanagi, pianist Masahiko Satoh, and drummer Masahiko Togashi, developing it as an artform that could stand on equal footing with its American and European counterparts.

Kikuchi also became known for his work with American musicians and composers — most notably Gil Evans (one of Miles’ deepest collaborators), as well as drummers Paul Motian and Elvin Jones, bassist Gary Peacock, and pianist Mal Waldron — and relocated to Manhattan in 1973, where he’s lived ever since. A dynamic and robust improviser whose playing also exhibits great pastoral sensitivity and pregnant sparseness, Kikuchi’s recent recordings have explored new levels of lyrical and rhythmic freedom. But that dedication to art doesn’t come without a price, as health struggles and rising rent are challenging his very well-being.

A gogetfunding campaign has been started to alleviate these pressures, with the goal of raising enough to stave off losing his loft and accruing medical debt.

Pianist Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus) has also published a lengthy interview with Kikuchi, available on Do The Math.

• Masabumi Kikuchi:

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