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Masabumi Kikuchi
Background information
Birth nameMasabumi Kikuchi
Also known asPoo Sun
Born19 October 1939
Tokyo, Japan
Died6 July 2015(2015-07-06) (aged 75)
Manhasset, New York, United States
Associated actsGil Evans
Lionel Hampton
Woody Herman
Sonny Rollins
Mal Waldron
WebsiteOfficial Site (Japanese)
Fan Site

Masabumi Kikuchi (菊地 雅章, Kikuchi Masabumi, 19 October 1939 – 6 July 2015) was a Japanese jazz pianist and composer known for his unique playing style.[1] He worked with many diverse musicians, including Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Mccoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Gary Peacock and Paul Motian, and collaborated with Gil Evans and Tōru Takemitsu.[2]


Masabumi Kikuchi was born in Tokyo in 1939. Following the firebombing of Tokyo in 1945, his family moved out of the city and settled in the rural Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima prefecture, where his parents were born.[1][3]

He studied music at the Tokyo Art College High School. While a student, he began buying second-hand records, most likely left behind by American soldiers. His early influences were Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk.[1] After graduating, he joined Lionel Hampton's Japanese touring band.[4] He started a quintet with Terumasa Hino but soon after left for the US after winning a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music.

He died from a subdural hematoma on 6 July 2015 at a hospital in Manhasset, New York. At the time of his death, he lived in Manhattan, New York City.[1]


As leader

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1969 Matrix Victor With Tetsuro Fushimi (trumpet), Hideyuki Kikuchi (alto sax), Akio Nishimura (tenor sax), Hironori Takiya (bass), Takahiro Suzuki (drums)

as Victor Modern Jazz Sextet

1970 Re-confirmation Philips With Kosuke Mine (alto saxophone), Yoshio Ikeda (bass, electric bass), Hiroshi Murakami (drums), Keiji Kishida (drums)
1970 Poo-Sun Philips With Kosuke Mine (soprano sax, alto sax), Hideo Ichikawa (electric piano, organ), Yoshio Ikeda (bass), Motohiko Hino (drums), Hiroshi Murakami (drums), Keiji Kishida (percussion)
1971 Masabumi Kikuchi In Concert Philips With Kosuke Mine (soprano saxophone, percussion), Yoshio Ikeda (bass), Hiroshi Murakami (drums), Keiji Kishida (drums)
1972 Masabumi Kikuchi with Gil Evans Philips With Gil Evans (conductor, piano), Billy Harper (tenner sax, flute, chime), Marvin Peterson (trumpet, flugel horn), Kohsuke Mine (alto sax, soprano sax), Shigeo Suzuki (alto sax, flute), Kiyoshige Matsubara (French horn), Nao Yamamoto (French horn), Shozo Nakagawa (piccolo flute, alto flute, bass flute), Takashi Asahi (piccolo flute, alto flute, bass flute), Yukio Etoh (piccolo flute, alto flute, bass flute), Kunitoshi Shinohara (trumpet, flugel horn), Takehisa Suzuki (trumpet, flugel horn), Hiroshi Munekiyo (tuba), Kikuzo Tado (tuba), Tadataka Nakazawa (bass tuba), Michiko Takahashi (marimba, vibraphone), Masayuki Takayanagi (electric guitar), Sadanori Nakamure (electric guitar), Yoshio Suzuki (bass), Isao Etoh (electric bass), Masahiko Togashi (drums), Yoshiyuki Nakamura (drums), Kohichi Yamaguchi (timpani), Hideo Miyata (percussion)
1974 East Wind East Wind With Terumasa Hino (trumpet), Kosuke Mine (tenor sax), Juini Booth (bass), Eric Gravatt (drums)
1978 But Not for Me Flying Disk With Gary Peacock (bass, percussion), Al Foster (drums, percussion), Badal Roy (tabla), Alyrio Lima (percussion), Azzedin Weston (percussion)
1980–81 Susto CBS/Sony With Terumasa Hino (cornet), Steve Grossman (soprano sax, tenor sax), Dave Liebman (soprano sax, tenor sax, flute), Richie Morales and Victor "Yahya" Jones (drums), Hassan Jenkins(bass), James Mason, Butch Campbell, Marlon Graves, Barry Finnerty and Billy Paterson (guitar), Alyrio Lima, Aiyb Dieng and Airto Moreira (percussion), Sam Morrison (soprano sax), Ed Walsh (synth programming)
1980–81 One-Way Traveller CBS/Sony With Terumasa Hino (cornet), Steve Grossman (soprano sax, tenor sax), Richie Morales and Victor "Yahya" Jones (drums), Hassan Jenkins(bass), James Mason, Butch Campbell, Marlon Graves, Gass Farkon, Billy Paterson and Ronald Drayton (guitar), Alyrio Lima, Aiyb Dieng and Airto Moreira (percussion), Sam Morrison (soprano sax)
1982–86? Earth (, Chi) Geronimo "Six Elements (六大, Rokudai)" series. Solo synthesizer.
1982–86? Water (, Sui) Geronimo "Six Elements (六大, Rokudai)" series. Solo synthesizer.
1982–86? Fire (, Ka) Geronimo "Six Elements (六大, Rokudai)" series. Solo synthesizer.
1982–86? Wind (, Fuu) Geronimo "Six Elements (六大, Rokudai)" series. Solo synthesizer.
1982–86? Air (, Kuu) Geronimo "Six Elements (六大, Rokudai)" series. Solo synthesizer.
1982–86? Mind (, Shiki) Geronimo "Six Elements (六大, Rokudai)" series. Solo synthesizer.
1986–89 Aurora transheart, fontec Solo synthesizer.
Four variations of track "Aurora" in previous album Water (, Sui).
1989 Attached (未練, Miren) transheart Solo piano
1989–90 Dreamachine transheart, Pioneer With Bernie Worrell (synthesizer), Bootsy Collins (space-bass), Bill Laswell (bass), Nicky Skopelitis (guitar), Aiyb Dieng (percussion)
1992–93 Feel You Paddle Wheel Trio, with James Genus (bass), Victor Jones (drums)[5]
1994 After Hours Verve Solo piano
1994 After Hours 2 PJL Solo piano
1996 Raw Material #1 Alfa With Toshiyuki Goto, DJ Katsuya and DJ Hiro (mixing), Mike Barry (guitar), Scott Wozniak (keyboard), Aiyb Dieng (percussion), Papa Jube, Veronica White, Bongo Gaston and Jean Baaptiste (vocals), David Dyson (bass), William "Space Man" Paterson (guitar), Darryl Foster (tenor sax)
1997–98 Melancholy Gil Verve Solo piano
2009 Sunrise ECM Trio, with Thomas Morgan (bass), Paul Motian (drums)[6]
2012 Black Orpheus ECM Solo piano; in concert[7]
2021 Hanamichi: The Final Studio Recording Redhook Records Solo piano; studio recording[8]

As co-leader

As Kochi
(Ensemble with Al Foster, Anthony Jackson, Dave Liebman, James Mtume, Reggie Lucas, Steve Grossman and Terumasa Hino)

As AAOBB (All Night All right Off White Boogie Band)
(with Conrad Adderley, Victor Jones, Aïyb Dieng, Kosuke Mine, Kelvyn Bell, Tomas Doncker, William "spaceman" Patterson)

As Tethered Moon
(Trio with Paul Motian and Gary Peacock)

As Slash Trio
(Trio with Masaaki Kikuchi and Tatsuya Yoshida)

Soundtrack album

As sideman

With Pee Wee Ellis

With Gil Evans

With Joe Henderson

With Terumasa Hino

With Helen Merrill

With Paul Motian

With Mal Waldron

Legacy in New York State Property Law

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In the late 1970s, Kikuchi lived in New York City and rented a loft apartment on W. 20th Street. The large apartment, over 1700 square feet, was in a formerly commercial building adapted to artists spaces and mixed studio and apartment space. His space was filled with musical instruments and recording equipment; it contained a creative work space as well as living space. In late 1977, a health spa equipment sales business moved into the floor above Kikuchi's studio. A series of damaging water leaks, noise, and eventually large-scale building renovations began. These leaks and activities severely interfered with his work and daily living; eventually, Kikuchi sued his landlord, asserting that the combined events and activities breached the covenant of quiet enjoyment of his apartment. Importantly, he also claimed that the construction work effectively excluded his use of a generous swath of the loft apartment, that is he was constructively evicted by the landlord's acts and failure to act (related to the upstairs tenant). Despite the massive disruptions, he continued living in the apartment during the legal dispute. As per common law, an essential element of claiming constructive eviction is the tenant's moving out; the logic of the common law rule is rooted in proof: the landlord's actions must be so severe and materially impact the tenant that no one would continue to stay there under the circumstances.[9]

The case was finally decided by the N.Y. Appellate Division in 1988. The Court's ruling in favor of Kikuchi established the notion of partial constructive eviction; that is, a partial exclusion from the quiet use and enjoyment of the property. The rule established in this case entitled a partially constructively evicted tenant to a pro rata rent reduction in proportion to the portion of the property they were unable to use. Importantly, the court held that leaving the premises was not required under this new concept. This rule has not been widely adopted in the United States and is a minority rule. The case, 528 N.Y.S.2d 554 (App. Div. 1988), is featured in contemporary property law case books to illustrate the concept of partial constructive eviction.


  1. ^ a b c d "Masabumi Kikuchi, Jazz Pianist Who Embraced Individualism, Dies at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
  2. ^ Merritt, Alex (2021-04-12). "Masabumi Kikuchi- 'Hanamichi: The Final Studio Recording'". London Jazz News. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  3. ^ "Interview with Masabumi Kikuchi". DO THE M@TH. 2016-04-10. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  4. ^ "Masabumi Kikuchi: Pianist who worked with Gil Evans and Miles Davis". The Independent. 2015-10-06. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  5. ^ Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (1996). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD (3rd ed.). Penguin. pp. 747–748. ISBN 978-0-14-051368-4.
  6. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Masabumi Kikuchi: Sunrise". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  7. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Masabumi Kikuchi: Black Orpheus". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  8. ^ Marlbank. "Masabumi Kikuchi: Hanamichi: The Final Studio Recording". Redhook Records. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  9. ^ Minjak Co. v. Randolph, 528 N.Y.S.2d 554 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dept. 1988)

Further reading