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Jeff Kashiwa

Jeff Kashiwa

Before starting work on his fourth solo album, Simple Truth (Native Language), smooth-jazz saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa defined a specific objective: to express his musical ideas as directly and forthrightly as possible. But achieving this aim required quite a bit of introspection. “I spent a lot of months, 14 hours a day, just downstairs in my studio writing songs and cowriting with other people,” says the former Rippingtons member.

To streamline each melody, Kashiwa put down the horn. “When I went to write and cowrite the melodies for the album, I didn’t write anything down. I didn’t even use my saxophone. I just sang the melody that I wanted to play, that I heard in my head,” he says. “Putting the saxophone down is very helpful, because we as saxophone players get carried away and play a lot of notes, and when you put the horn away, you’re just left with your voice. And I’m not a very good singer at all, which is even more helpful because the melody has to be simpler so I can sing it.”

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