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Swing Masa Band brings jazz live from New York

Date Posted: 1998-09-25

Masa Wada was born Osaka on the day Billie Holiday died. She become interested in jazz when she was a freshman at high school. She had listened one of her boyfriend’s tapes featuring John Coltrane and was moved by the music.

At the age of 20, she decided that playing saxophone was her life’s ambition. It was not easy. She worked all kinds of odd jobs to support herself until, in 1987, she decided to go to New York. An additional impetus was a broken romance. She also got help from a circle of friends who had been supporting her and who now collected about $10,000 to cover her moving expenses and get her started in the new city.

Five years after moving to New York, she played at Women’s Music Festival in Michigan to large and enthusiastic audiences. She was admitted to Jazz and Modern Music Department at the New School of Arts and eventually started the "Swing Masa Band" with Dennis Charles and other musicians.

The band has been playing mostly in clubs in and around Harlem and is known for its dedication to abolishing the death penalty.

The Swing Masa Band will hold two concerts in Okinawa: in Club D-Set in Ginowan City on Friday and at Sugar Hall in Sashiki Town, Saturday. The concert at D-Set begins at 7 p.m., and 6 p.m. in Sugar Hall. Tickets are ¥2,500 in advance and ¥3,000 at door. For more information, call (098)861-8110 (Club D-Set), or (098)947-1100 (Sugar Hall).

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