As Mondo Grosso, Japanese track-master Shinichi Osawa has acted alone and with various vocalists and collaborators — ranging from Monday Michiru to N'dea Davenport to Tania Maria — to produce some of the most stylish acid jazz, house, and R&B produced in his country during the '90s. Born in 1967, the man from Sakura Hills began recording in 1989 and released his first Mondo Grosso material during 1992-1993, including his self-titled debut album on Japan's For Life imprint. Its globetrotting flair (indebted to American disco and R&B, British acid jazz, Brazilian samba) led a vanguard of mature Japanese dance music also including United Future Organization and Pizzicato 5. Licensing agreements on several compilations resulted in Mondo Grosso's "Souffles H" becoming a club hit in the West as well, and the second MG LP, Born Free, followed in 1995, with vocalist/collaborators including Monday Michiru and Jhelisa.
Perhaps responding to the rather canned sound of Born Free, Shinichi Osawa enlisted a range of instrumentalists for 1997's Closer, including Salsoul Orchestra mainman Vince Montana Jr. plus session veterans like guitarist Chuck Loeb, keyboard player James Preston, and the East 4th Horns. He also formed his own label, For Real records, which released material by the Japanese vocalist Bird, as well as the fourth Mondo Grosso LP, MG4. Osawa has also released a solo mix album on For Real, Sakura Hills Disco 3000.
- By John Bush
All Music Group