Takashi Kako

Pianist and Composer




Takashi Kako (born 31 January 1947, Osaka) is a Japanese pianist and composer, who works in both jazz and art-music idioms. Kako began playing piano at eight years old and learned to play jazz while in his teens. He attended the Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, receiving both his bachelor's (1965-1969) and master's in composition (1971) there. Upon graduating, he matriculated at the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied composition under Olivier Messiaen; concurrently, he played jazz in clubs, beginning a long-term association with Kent Carter and Oliver Johnson as a trio. He played with Noah Howard, Masahiko Togashi, and Steve Lacy in the 1970s, and with Togashi again as a duo in the early 1980s. Starting in the mid-1980s, he increasingly moved toward playing solo piano, although he occasionally toured with ensembles as well. In addition to his performance career, Kako has worked extensively as a composer. He is famous in Japan for his piano sounds as "Piano Painter" and as a film composer. He has written scores for traditional ensembles and for film and television, including the 1998 film The Quarry.