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Sadao Watanabe has long had a split musical personality. He alternates excellent bebop dates with pop albums. Watanabe learned clarinet and alto in high school, and in the 1950s he moved to Tokyo, joining Toshiko Akiyoshi's bop-oriented group in 1953. When the pianist moved to the U.S. in 1956, Watanabe took over the band. He attended Berklee during 1962-1965 and had the opportunity to work with Gary McFarland, Chico Hamilton, and Gabor Szabo. However, throughout his career Watanabe has remained mostly based in Japan, where he is a major influence on younger players. He has recorded steadily through the years, most notably with Chick Corea in New York (1970) and with the Galaxy All-Stars (1978). Watanabe's bop records are inspired by Charlie Parker, and his pop dates by Brazilian-flavored music.