"I have lived a life alongside jazz," says Kiyoshi Koyama, jazz critic, journalist and radio host. This is apparent on a recent visit to his home in Chiba Prefecture, where he and his wife live surrounded by walls of neatly organized records, CDs, books and other archives — a lifetime of research and study.
His many interviews with the greats of jazz — John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Toshiko Akiyoshi — are preserved for posterity in cassette tapes and spiral-bound notebooks in his study and, though into his 80s, he has not stopped searching for new music, ideas or styles.
Born in Osaka in 1936, Koyama came of age in a postwar era defined by American influence in both the political and cultural spheres. Like many Japanese of his generation, his first exposure to American music and popular culture — jazz included — was through the Far East Network of U.S. military radio (and later television) stations created for forces stationed in Japan, the Philippines and Guam. The Japanese listeners weren't its target audience, but they were among its most attentive.