A male vocal quartet formed in December 1951 in Tokyo, Japan, by former members of a college singing group, comprising Hiroshi Takamizawa (b. 9 November 1933, Shizuoka, Japan; first tenor), Tôru Sasaki (b. 18 February 1932, Fukushima, Japan; second tenor), Tetsu Kihayâ (b. 8 November 1930, Tokyo, Japan; baritone) and Hajime Tôyama (b. 26 May 1930, Tokyo, Japan; bass). Formed as the first jazz vocal quartet in Japan, they signed with Teichiku Records in 1956 and energetically and increasingly expanded their repertoire, incorporating Russian folk-songs, Japanese children’s songs, Negro spirituals and popular songs in general, as illustrated by such hits as ‘Kachusha’, ‘Yamaotokono Uta’ (‘Song Of A Mountaineer’), ‘Yukiyama Sanka’ (‘Ode To A Snowy Mountain’), ‘Gin’irono Michi’ (‘Silvery Road’) and ‘Suzuran’ (‘Lily-Of-The-Valley’). Characterized by strikingly close harmony and middle-of-the-road smoothness that match their gentlemanship, the music of Dark Ducks has long been popular among the Japanese. This prize-winning group is still active without any hint of disbanding or retiring.
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