Koichi Kawabe

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While a discussion of discrepancies involving this trombonist and composer's first name would be more appropriate to conduct while tickling a child's bare toes, the opening of a biography will unfortunately…
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While a discussion of discrepancies involving this trombonist and composer's first name would be more appropriate to conduct while tickling a child's bare toes, the opening of a biography will unfortunately have to do as a forum for Kinichi, Keiichi, and Koichi. It is a slippery situation indeed regarding his first name, as if someone were attempting to replicate the effect of valve grease. Discographers who credit Koichi Kawabe with more than a dozen recordings between 1956 and the late '70s are no doubt talking about the same fellow identified elsewhere as Keiichi, Koichi, and even the double threat of Keiichi Koichi. A graduate of the Tokyo Academy of Music Instrumental School around the time that the Second World War was drowning everything else out, Kawabe wanted to play in a symphonic brass section and was subsequently in and out of a series of pit and other orchestras, some such as the Emaniars under his own leadership.

The Columbia Recording Orchestra signed him up in the late '50s, beginning a career of composing and arranging for radio, television, and film. The trombone playing said to be particularly inspired by Frank Rosolino took a back seat, Kawabe's recording career on the instrument largely confined to Japanese releases without the breakout international component enjoyed by players such as Toshinori Kondo or Sadao Watanabe. By the late '60s Kawabe had found a niche in crime and action films, resulting in a series of titles that in the reading alone provide a good deal of excitement: Quick-Draw Okatsu, Gang vs. G-Men, Greed in Broad Daylight, High Noon for Gangsters, and Aim at the Police Van. The contrast between these cans of whoop-ass and his jazz trombone playing is diminished slightly by the fact that the aforementioned Rosolino actually murdered his entire family.