Yoko Miwa Trio

Yoko Miwa Trio

 Boston, Massachusetts, USA
BandJazz

“Pianist Yoko Miwa displays unpretentious melodies, elegant phrasing, and the lyrical sensibility of a jazz poet.”
—Jazziz Magazine

Yoko has released four CDs on major labels in Japan and has become a critically acclaimed and internationally recognized touring performer and educator.

Biography

“Pianist Yoko Miwa displays unpretentious melodies, elegant phrasing, and the lyrical sensibility of a jazz poet.”
—Jazziz Magazine

Japanese pianist Yoko Miwa has earned a reputation as one of the jazz world’s lyrical, melodic, and accessible players. All Music Guide says that “what's consistently impressive is her ability to deliver complex and challenging musical ideas in a compelling and yet frequently gentle and inviting way.” She has released four CDs on major labels in Japan and has become a critically acclaimed and internationally recognized touring performer and educator.

The Day We Said Good Bye (Sunshine Digital, Japan), Miwa’s fourth CD as a leader, was recorded by the Yoko Miwa Trio at WGBH Studio One. The trio, here comprised of Miwa, Kendall Eddy (acoustic bass) and Scott Goulding (drums), played together in the same room, so the recording captures the immediacy and energy of a live performance. The CD contains two originals, one of which, the title track, Miwa dedicated to two of her friends who had recently passed.

The disc departs from her first three—which feature all original tunes—by containing mostly compositions by other artists. It includes renditions of standards by Thelonius Monk and Leonard Bernstein, as well as by modern jazz composers such as Keith Jarrett, Jaco Pastorius, and Larry Goldings. There are also songs by popular artists such as Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney. Miwa put her own personal stamp on the songs while maintaining their integrity. “I adapted the songs for a piano trio but also figured out where to take liberty for improvisation. I want to make them my own but still recognizable enough so you know what tune it is without having to look at the title on the CD,” she says.

Since her arrival in 1997 in Boston, Massachusetts, she’s forged a prominent place in the city’s jazz scene. The Yoko Miwa Trio is a favorite at the area’s jazz venues and has been a house band at Ryles since 2002. Her 2009 sold-out debut at Scullers Jazz Club filled the popular club with an enthusiastic crowd. The trio has appeared on “Eric in the Evening” on WGBH, was featured on the National Public Radio show “Jazz After Hours,” and was interviewed live on the popular radio show “Voice of America,” which is broadcast worldwide.

Born in Kobe, Japan, Miwa studied classical piano from the age of four and then eventually studied with jazz organist/pianist Minoru Ozone (the father of the well known Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone). She won a scholarship to Boston’s Berklee College of Music, and after graduation became the personal accompanist for Grammy award-winning jazz singer Kevin Mahogany. In 2001, Miwa was a featured performer in Washington D.C. at The Kennedy Center’s “Mary Lou William's Women in Jazz Festival.” Her performance and recording credits include Slide Hampton, Arturo Sandoval, George Garzone, Jon Faddis, Jerry Bergonzi, Joe Hunt, Kevin Mahogany, John Lockwood, Johnathan Blake, and Mike Turk.