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Toshiko Akiyoshi

As an arranger, Toshiko Akiyoshi (influenced originally by Gil Evans and Thad Jones) has been particularly notable for incorporating elements of traditional Japanese music into her otherwise bop-ish charts. A strong (and underrated) pianist in the Bud Powell tradition, Akiyoshi was born in China but moved to Japan in 1946. She played locally (Sadao Watanabe was among her sidemen) and, after being noticed and encouraged by Oscar Peterson, studied at Berklee during 1956-1959. Married for a time to altoist Charlie Mariano, she co-led the Toshiko Mariano Quartet in the early '60s. After working with Charles Mingus in 1962 (including participating in his ill-fated Town Hall Concert), Toshiko returned to Japan for three years. Back in New York by 1965, she did a radio series and formed a quartet with her second husband, Lew Tabackin, in 1970. After moving to Los Angeles in 1972, Toshiko Akiyoshi put together her very impressive big band which featured such fine soloists as Bobby Shew, Gary Foster, and Tabackin. They recorded several notable albums before Akiyoshi decided, in 1981, to move to New York. Since their relocation, Akiyoshi and Tabackin have both been quite active although her re-formed big band has actually received less publicity than it did in L.A. She ranks as one of the top jazz arrangers of the past several decades. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Comon! Guy! She is one of the best Pianists Japan ever produced in history.
Listen to Kogun, Yellow long Road, and all that. They will blow all the American Mind!
I garrantee! I have been listening for 40 years!
dclark235
I love her already!...n e v e r heard of her before Panadora!!
WOW! Rivals Ellington. I wish Pandora would include more of her works -- especially her big band compositions .
Awesomely great pianist and composer.One of the very best of all times.
Damn. She is pipin'! I'd never heard of her before, but I'll be checking her out now!
Greatly underrated as a big-band composer. Pandora doesn't even include any of those works. Bud Powell reportedly heard her playing on the radio and said to his companion that that was the best jazz pianist he had ever heard; when he found out it was a she amended his comment to 'the best female jazz pianist'' he had ever heard.
Distinctive sound and style....Lov e the syncopated rhythm and catchy bounce..An air of playfulness while letting the melody smooth its way through..... G o e s with champagne at midnight when the dance is over.

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