Kitamura, Eiji, jazz clarinetist, band leader; b. Tokyo, Japan, April 8, 1929. He is a self-taught musician who first began to play jazz in college. He began working professionally in 1950 with Tetsuro Takahama’s Esquire Cats, then worked for three years with Saburo Nambu (1951–53), before forming his first group, Cats Herd (1954–57). He then was a sideman again, working with Mitsuru Ono & his 6 Brothers Band, from 1957-60, before striking out on his own for good, leading a swing-styled sextet. He was influenced by Benny Goodman (who he met while Goodman was touring Japan in 1957) and Woody Herman (with whom he would record in the 1970s). Kitamura’s group gained wide popularity in his native Japan and on the international jazz festival circuit. They continued to perform into the 1990s; in 1991, Kitamura co-founded the L.A.-based International Jazz Party with musician Bill Berry.
Because of You (1976); E.K. vs Suzuki Shoji (1976); My Monday Date (1977); Memories of You (1978); April Date (1979); Swing Eiji (1980); 3 Degrees North (1980); Seven Stars (1981).
—E. Taylor Atkins