"One of the world's greatest solo guitarists."
— Tuck Andress (Tuck & Patti)
Hailed by fellow guitarists as a 'brilliant groove player', Masa Sumide stretches the limit of the acoustic guitar and lets it sing with his unique one-man band style and melodic compositions. His repertoire runs from jaw-dropping funky tunes to sophisticated yet accessible jazzy, bluesy grooves along with some ballads that are sure to touch the soul.
The following is Masa's brief personal history and highlights ...
Born in February 3, 1956 in Kyoto prefecture, Japan.
Masa was 12 years old when the electric sound of The Ventures made an indelible impact on him and came to realize the pleasure of guitar music. It was around this time when he first started picking on the guitar.
Following that, he discovered a Japanese Nokie Edwards named Takeshi Terauchi and ,as a result, became completely captivated by the guitar.
In his high school days, Masa's musical taste changed to something with a harder edge and he spent most of his time listening to hard rock music - the bands like Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad and Led Zeppelin just to name a few. The word 'schoolwork' wasn't in his dictionary!!!
Then, Masa started gravitating to a completely different type of music, which was the solo jazz guitar world of Joe Pass. This fateful encounter proved to be Masa's biggest learning experience in terms of chord melody construction, progression, not to mention the artistic/poetic expression side of things.
After graduating from high school Masa decided to "go straight" and took a job at a major department store in Kyoto instead of persuing a music career. Contrary to his superior's expectations Masa's heart wasn't in it and, after 10 months of unproductive time, he quit.
In 1974, Masa joined an acoustic band called SIGNAL based in Kyoto, and the following year made a professional debut from Plydor Records with the first single sold more than 800,000 copies. The group produced 14 singles and 7 albums before their disbandment in 1983.
After the breakup of SIGNAL, Masa got involved in a pop band called Takao Horiuchi & The Canes as the lead guitarist and backup vocalist and made 2 singles / 1 album during their short existence of 2 years.
In 1986, he went freelance and started doing backup / studio work for various famous artists.
In 1989, Masa joined Shinji Tanimura Band as the new leader of the group and he concentrated on this project for the next three and a half years. During this period the band got to make some international appearances in various Asian cities, namely, Bangkok, Hong kong, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.
In 1990, he spent one month in Vienna, Austria for the recording of Tanimura's album "Price of Love" as the star's music director.
After leaving the Tanimura Band Masa went back to freelancing and did various backup/studio gigs.
Migrated to Australia in late 1996, Masa was determined to reinvent himself as a solo acoustic guitarist. However, he needed to put in serious practice time since he wasn't quite sure as to how to go about composing solo pieces then, although he had been pretty used to backing up singers and had all the basics down... so he ended up in spending 10 hours a day, on average, practicing the guitar for 2 years straight without taking a day off!!! Masa had been hard at it during this period as if possessed by something.
After many trials and errors he came up with a memorable first CD "Treadin' Easy" in 1999, followed by "Cool Exposure" the next year, which was highly praised by Tuck Andress of Tuck & Patti.
The third self-produced CD "Shadow Dancer" was released in 2001, and July of this year saw Masa's first publication of a book on English learning as a second language (based on his cross- cultural experiences) from Kenkyusha, a reputable publisher of language materials.
In August his Collection album (compiled from the first three albums) was published by Solid Air records in the USA.
In 2002, Masa relocated back to Japan and started to work energetically for the spread of solo acoustic guitar music here in Japan.
In June, his 4th alubm "Ain't Life Grand" was released in the USA from Solid Air Records, and his second language book was published in October by kenkyusha.
In 2003, Masa did a singing-only concert for the first time in years and after this he did a series of such concerts in various places.
In September, he released his 5th solo guitar album "Play Me like A Guitar" and his third English learning book was also published.
In March 2004, Masa invited Laurence Juber over for a seven concert tour titled "The Dancing Fingers Tour".
In April, he went to Taiwan to do a tour for the first time there, and in September, the CD "Play Me Like A Guitar" and the tab book of the same title were published there as well.
In September 2004, the 6th CD "Groove Files" was released.
In February 2005, Masa started a monthly concert titled "One Signal" and sung nothing but the songs from the SIGNAL days. The series went on to December with various guests involved.
In April 2005, he did the second Taiwan Tour with Don Alder, Bob Evans from Canada and Huang Chia Wei.
In May, his 7th CD "House Of Hits", his first DVD "Solo Guitar Magic" and the "Groove Files Tab Book" were published successively.
In October, Masa was invited over to do some demonstration work at the Music China Fair and also did one concert in Shanghai.
In November, he reunited with Laurence Juber for two shows in Osaka and Tokyo titled "The Dancing Fingers 2".
In December, he visited Taiwan again to do a tour with Andy Mckee, Jacques Stotzem and Huang Chia Wei.
In 2006, Masa saw his 50th birthday come around and, to commemorate the occasion, did a concert in Osaka titled "FUNK 50".
In March, he invited over a fellow fingerpicker Don Alder from Canada and did a 8 concert tour titled "The Groove Brothers Tour".
In May, his 8th CD "You Are Gold" was released.
In August, Masa went to Korea and did three concerts, one of which was filmed by EBS for the "EBS Space" TV program.
In March 2007, Masa did a USA tour for the first time, which took him to Detroit, Topeka, St. Louis, Wichita with Andy Mckee. He also extended his trip to Toronto, Canada to do one concert there.
In late March, his 9th CD "Happy Together" was released.
In September, Masa reunited with Andy Mckee and did a 6 city tour (The Guitar Paradise Tour) in Japan.
On his birthday in 2008, his commemorative 10th CD "Born To Groove" was released.
In March, Masa reunited with Don Alder and did a tour of British Columbia in Canada, which took them to 13 cities.
In April, he invited over a fellow guitarist Doug Smith from the US and did a 6 city concert tour titled "The Guitar Parts Tour" in Japan.
In September, Masa made a corroborative album with Shun Komatsubara entitled "When You Wish Upon A Guitar" (Iruka Music), which features five handcrafted guitars by five up and coming Japanese luthiers.
In October, he went to Germany to do an extended tour with Peter Finger and various guitarists for about four weeks. At the same time, the CD "Born To Groove" was released from Acoustic Music records (based in Germany) throughout Europe.
In early February 2009, Masa started recording for his 11th album "Cat and Mouse", which was published in March '09.
In March, he reunited with Bob Evans (Canada) and did a 7 city tour in Japan.
In April, Masa went to China and did a five city tour with Huang Chia Wei, which took them to Beijing, Herbin, Shanghai, Cheng Chow and Tai Yuan.
In July, he did a 9 city tour of Japan with Peter Finger. They also went to Korea and made one TV appearance (EBS Space) and did one concert together in Seoul before the Japan leg of the tour.
At the end of October, Masa took part in the "Acoustic Guitar Celebration 2009" held in Bangkok, Thailand and extended his trip to India to do the "World Guitar Nights" tour with Don Ross, Sandor Szabo and Konarak Reddy in November.
Masa Sumide continues to spread around the good word on fingerstyle guitar music...