Guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo was born in 1946 in Tokyo, Japan. Without formal instruction, and listening to his father's record collections, Masuo taught himself to play the guitar, influenced heavily by the sounds of Wes Montgomery and Barney Kessel who were his favorites. His father was a jazz pioneer in Japan on piano, organ and as a big band leader. Some of Masuo’s first memories of live jazz were from his trips to his father’s gigs at the American military bases.
Attending college at Waseda University in 1965, he joined the university jazz club where he was quickly discovered by Japan's top saxophonist, Sadao Watanabe, who took Masuo under his wing and into his group. The group hurtled Masuo to popularity and in it, he toured Japan many times over, recording albums with them and playing on Sadao's weekly radio show.
In 1969, Masuo won the honor of "best jazz guitarist" in the annual Swing Journal musician's poll, a position he held for many years. His first solo album, Winds of Barcelona was released that same year on the CBS-SONY label, and by 1970, he was touring Europe and the United States with the Watanabe group, leaving Japan for the first time and playing at the Montreux and Newport jazz festivals.
When Watanabe's group disbanded at the end of 1970, Masuo took what he thought would be a six month trip to New York City. He soon found himself in the middle of the jazz scene there, playing with musicians Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes, Lenny White, and Mike Brecker. Masuo recorded on Jones' Merry Go Round album, and went on to play with Lee Konitz in 1972. In the spring of '73, he became a regular member of the Sonny Rollins band and in his six year association with Rollins (three years at this time), he toured extensively in the U.S., Europe and Japan and recorded on three of Rollins' albums ; Horn Culture, Cutting Edge, and Sonny Rollins Live in Japan. Reviews of the Rollins concerts often singled out Masuo's guitar work. A review in a London newspaper referred to "Yoshiaki Masuo, whose jazz guitar would make an evening memorable even without the redoubtable Rollins" and a High Fidelity review of the recording of the Montreux Festival concert ("The Cutting Edge") spoke of "Guitarist Masuo's charging, churning solos that are highlights of Rollins' club performances."
Source : http://www.masuomusic.com/MasuoBio.shtml
and His Group
Winds of Barcelona
1 Winds of Barcelona (Lake) 4:09
2 Scarborough Fair (Simon, Garfunkel) 6:51
3 Stoned Soul Picnic (Nyro) 4:28
4 One for Wes (Masuo) 5:30
5 I Say a Little Prayer (Bacharach, David) 4:04
6 Gary's Tune (Watanabe) 5:03
7 What the World Needs Now is Love (Bacharach, David) 5:20
8 Winds of Barcelona - Theme (Lake) 2:52
Yoshiaki Masuo - g
Kiyoshi Sugimoto - g
Hideo Miyata - fl
Kazuo Yashiro - org & p
Yoshio Suzuki - b
Fumio Watanabe - dr
Rally Sunaga - perc
Nobuhiro Suzuki - vb & mrmb
Recorded at Taihie Studio, Shinjuku, Tokyo ; February 19, 1969 [# 1-3] ; May 5, 1969 [# 4-8]