Yoko Miwa Trio plays Up from the Skies, composed by Jimi Hendrix, in honor of his 70th birthday. Live at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston. November 2012. http://yokomiwa.com/ video by Tara Lani Neves. Yoko Miwa on piano, Greg Loughman on acoustic bass, Scott Goulding on drums.
Renowned pianist and JVC Victor Entertainment Recording Artist, Yoko Miwa is on a roll. In June, the Yoko Miwa Trio was voted Best Jazz Act by the Boston Phoenix in the 2012 Best Music Poll. In July, her trio released their major label debut CD in Japan titled Act Naturally on the JVC Victor Entertainment label. In 2011, she was appointed Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, she played sold-out shows in Boston and NYC, 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 also 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.
After graduating from Berklee, Miwa recorded 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, taped live at the studios of WGBH-FM in 2006; and 2011′s Live at Scullers. 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, Rebecca Parris, and Johnathan Blake.