Jiro Inagaki never settled into one music community. The 90-year-old saxophonist says that while he entered the industry via jazz, he was always interested in how the style could intersect with other genres, including rock.
“If you were a player like me, you’d go to the rock community and be seen as just a jazz guy,” Inagaki says in an interview at his apartment near Shinjuku Gyoen National Park. His son, Masayuki, joins us as well. “When I went to the jazz scene, I was viewed as a rock player. You couldn’t really belong to one group.”
Inagaki didn’t heed this separation of musical styles, though, and his open-mindedness is what has helped his work persevere through the years. Finding himself caught up in enka ballads, the hippie movement, city pop and more, Inagaki’s jazz reveals his curiosity about the sonic worlds around him and an enthusiasm for tinkering with genres.