“Pianist Yoko Miwa displays unpretentious melodies, elegant phrasing, and the lyrical sensibility of a jazz poet.” –Jazziz Magazine
“Miwa plays with the confidence and fluidity of a seasoned jazz musician. She has the enviable ability to play in any context with authenticity, clarity, and spontaneity…”
-Wilbert Sostre, JazzTimes
“Simply a first class, straight up, straight ahead player whose sole mission is to step up and deliver the goods,…” –Midwest Record Review
Critically acclaimed pianist and JVC Victor Entertainment Recording Artist Yoko Miwa has spent the past decade honing one of the most musical trio sounds on the jazz scene. Miwa is an artist with a unique sound, style and meaning to her fans. In addition to being voted Best Jazz Act by the Boston Phoenix in the 2012 Best Music Poll, The Yoko Miwa Trio made their Blue Note NYC debut in 2014 to rave reviews. “Miwa had just as much fun sending the rhythm section away and swinging by herself as she did engaging in a tightly spiraling, interlocking web of melody…pensively spacious minor-key blues, a scampering right hand against a stern left, tension and release around a central tone, intricately conversational interplay with the guys in her fantastic trio…She’s fun to watch and just as tuneful.” — The New York Music Daily. The Yoko Miwa Trio released their major label debut CD in Japan titled Act Naturally on the JVC Victor Entertainment label in 2012 and she toured Japan with her trio that same year to rave reviews. “She is one of the best jazz pianists in Japan,” said Yozo Iwanami, Jazz Hihyo Magazine. She was appointed an Assistant Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music in 2011. She has played sold out shows in NYC and Boston, and she was chosen to play a special concert, Marian McPartland & Friends at Dizzy’s at Lincoln Center, as part of The Coca-Cola Generations in Jazz Festival.
Live at Scullers Jazz Club, her trio’s fifth and most accomplished CD, was released in 2011. It was described as “picture perfect” by Marc Myers on JazzWax, who goes on to say, “Also worth noting are Miwa’s originals Mr. B.G. and Silent Promise which build with passion and grace.” The CD was chosen as among the Best CDs of 2011 by JazzTimes.
Miwa, a native of Kobe, Japan, was classically trained and didn’t pursue an interest in jazz until she met and studied with Minoru Ozone, a popular television organist and nightclub owner who is the father of pianist Makoto Ozone. Miwa worked at Ozone’s club and as an accompanist and piano instructor at his music school until the great Kobe earthquake of 1995 destroyed both facilities. Then, while continuing to take private lessons from Minoru Ozone, she also pursued musical studies at the Koyo Conservatory in Kobe. From there she won first prize in a scholarship competition to attend Berklee. Miwa quickly began playing with a host of talented students and teachers, and she formed a strong bond with vocal great Kevin Mahogany, who chose the pianist to serve as accompanist in his classes and on his gigs.
Miwa has recorded six CDs to date. The first of four discs on Japanese labels followed: 2000’s In the Mist of Time, with a guest appearance by tenor saxophonist Tim Mayer; 2002’s Fadeless Flower; 2004’s Canopy of Stars; The Day We Said Goodbye, recorded live at the studios of WGBH-FM in 2006; 2011’s Live at Scullers; and 2012’s Act Naturally. On each CD you hear Miwa’s distinct and powerful musical personality.
Her performance and recording credits include Slide Hampton, Arturo Sandoval, George Garzone, Jon Faddis, Jerry Bergonzi, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lynne Carrington, Sheila Jordan, Kevin Mahogany, John Lockwood, and Johnathan Blake.
Be sure to check out Yoko Miwa’s artist page on JVC Victor, All About Jazz, and her faculty profile at Berklee College of Music for additional information. Click on the image to go to the respective page.