The Chihiro Yamanaka
Trio will perform March 30, 2015 at Blues Alley
The trio, led by jazz pianist/composer Chihiro Yamanaka, a Universal Music/Blue Note recording artist, features bassist Yoshi Waki
and drummer John Davis
Ms. Yamanaka’s performance, part of Blues Alley’s Japanese Jazz Series, marks her return to Blues Alley after her well-received debut engagement in March, 2014. Ms. Yamanaka’s concerts at Blues Alley have been organized with the support of the Embassy of Japan in association with the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Ms. Yamanaka’s group will perform two sets, at 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM. Blues Alley is at 1073 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC. Admission is $25 per set, and tickets can be purchased in advance via the Blues Alley
website or by calling Blues Alley at (202) 337-4141.
Chihiro Yamanaka’s music pivots between her strikingly original compositions and her unique arrangements in which she accomplishes the impressive feat of introducing the element of surprise into some of the most famous songs in the jazz repertoire, contemporary popular music, and even the works of classical composers.
Ms. Yamanaka has been a Universal Music/Verve recording artist since 2005, when she was awarded Swing Journal’s “Best New Artist” title. On the occasion of Universal's recent acquisition of Blue Note Records—in time for Blue Note’s 75th anniversary—Ms. Yamanaka made the move to Blue Note. She has been a big part of the Blue Note 75th anniversary celebrations, including a concert at the Blue Note Tokyo
in which she performed with all-stars including bassist Ron Carter.
The new Chihiro Yamanaka CD, Somethin' Blue
, is her Blue Note Records debut. Ms. Yamanaka, who most often performs and records in trio format, assembled a sextet for these sessions and created a new compositional universe that places Somethin’ Blue
in the lineage of classic Blue Note recordings.
All of Ms. Yamanaka’s CDs are recorded in New York City, where she resides. Her recordings have featured prominent artists such as Jaleel Shaw
, Ben Williams
, Jeff "Tain" Watts
, Larry Grenadier
, Jeff Ballard
, Kendrick Scott
, Gene Jackson
, Vicente Archer
, Robert Hurst
, Yasushi Nakamura
, Yoshi Waki, John Davis and Bernard “Pretty” Purdie
Ms. Yamanaka’s recent U.S. performances have included Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center
and the Blue Note
in New York City, as well as Yoshi’s San Francisco
in Boston, An die Musik
in Baltimore, and the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center
in Washington, DC, a concert that was selected for broadcast on National Public Radio’s “JazzSet With Dee Dee Bridgewater
In Japan, Ms. Yamanaka performs to sellout audiences at large venues across the country, and all of her CDs have topped the Japanese jazz charts. As a classical pianist, she has performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue
with major symphony orchestras. She has become a multimedia celebrity in Japan, hosting her own radio show, making TV appearances, and authoring a book, The Landscape With Jazz
Europe is fertile ground for Ms. Yamanaka’s tours, which have included the Umbria Jazz Festival
, Bologna Jazz Festival
in Paris, Blue Note Milan
, A-Trane in Berlin
, major venues and festivals in Rome including Auditorium Parco Della Musica
, Roma Jazz Festival
, and a recent weeklong engagement at Marians Jazzroom
in Bern, Switzerland.
Ms. Yamanaka has received numerous awards, including Jazz Japan’s “Album of the Year” and the Japan Gold Disc Award for best-selling jazz record of the year, along with acknowledgments from critics and fans for her recordings and live performances, which are regarded as distinguished for their energy and swing.
Jazz Life Magazine called Ms. Yamanaka “one of the greatest jazz talents in decades,” and the late George Russell
hailed her as “a very gifted and imaginative musician.”
In JazzTimes Magazine, Giovanni Russonello wrote an enthusiastic review of Ms. Yamanaka's set at the 2011 Umbria Jazz Festival, opening for Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller. “Opening for the Tribute to Miles band with her trio, the Japanese pianist tore into two originals at the top of her set…When she announced ‘Take Five,’ the crowd let out a gleeful 'ahh'—but they weren’t ready for the voracious reharmonization, full of upward-creeping bass lines and chromatic descents, or her mid-song interpolation of 'In Your Own Sweet Way,' retrofitted in 5/4 time. Right and left, jaws were dropping."