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Love Letter From Japan

New York, NY – Jazz enthusiasts will be treated to a month-long series of Japanese Jazz Piano entitled, “Love Letter From Japan,” at Klavierhaus, New York City’s premier fine piano showroom at  790 11th Avenue at 54th Street, New York, NY 10019.

Produced by Jim Luce and Charles Carlini, the series features the very finest Japanese pianists in New York City on Wednesdays in June. The performers include Miki Hayama on June 7, Yayoi Ikawa on June 14, Toru Dodo with special guest Alicia Olatuja on June 21, and Miki Yamanaka on June 28. The performances will take place at 6 pm and 7:30 pm each Wednesday in June. Tickets are available for $25 in advance or $30 at the door by visiting nycjazzpianofestival.com.

According to Jim Luce, “Our Japanese Jazz Piano Series is a celebration of the deep musical and cultural ties between Japan and New York City. We are thrilled to bring together some of the most talented Japanese pianists in the city to share their unique musical perspectives with audiences.”

The Japanese Jazz Piano Series promises to be a unique and exciting event, showcasing some of the most talented Japanese pianists in the city. Each artist will bring their own unique style and sound to the stage, creating an unforgettable experience for jazz fans.

Love Letter From Japan

GRAMMY-nominated pianist Miki Hayama is a highly regarded pianist known for her versatility and creativity. She studied jazz piano with the renowned jazz pianist Sadayasu Fujii in Kyoto, and came to New York in 2003 after graduating from the Osaka College of Music. She has played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including George Benson and David Sanborn, and has toured and/or recorded with Roy Hargrove, JD Allen, Kenny Garrett, Vincent Herring, Christian McBride, Ralph Peterson, Greg Osby, Mark Shim, and others.

Yayoi Ikawa is a dynamic performer whose music draws from a variety of influences, including classical music and Japanese folk music. As a composer and arranger, Yayoi received commissions from the Modern Music Society of Tokyo, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and Montreal-based sculptor David Baumflek. She is a veteran of bands led by Reggie Workman, Michael Carvin, Howard Johnson, Michal Urbaniak, Butch Morris, Craig Harris, Lenny Pickett, Frank Lacy, Lonnie Plaxico, Fostina Dixon, and others. She is featured in a rare solo piano setting at 7:30 pm.

Grammy-nominated pianist Toru Dodo was born in Tokyo and started playing classical piano at age 4. He is a gifted pianist whose style is heavily influenced by the jazz greats of the past. In 1995, after graduating from Meiji University in Tokyo, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston and graduated summa cum laude in 1998. Following his graduation from Berklee, Dodo moved to NY. Dodo has released five solo albums all produced by legendary guitarist, Yoshiaki Masuo for the Japanese label, Jazz City Spirits, and has been seen in performance with Kenny Garrett, Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Louis Hayes, Ruth Brown, and Terumasa Hino among others. He is often seen as a pianist with some of today’s most exciting jazz vocalists, including Somi, Nicole Henry, Laurin Talese, and this evening’s special guest Alicia Olatuja.

Singer Alicia Olatuja earned a master’s degree in classical voice and opera from the Manhattan School of Music, not to pursue a career in opera, but because she realized she “needed to get training about how to do all the things I wanted to do without hurting myself, whether gospel or jazz or R&B or classical. Actually, I like to do one opera a year to keep up with the discipline and skills.”

Japanese-born pianist Miki Yamanaka is a rising star in the jazz piano world, known for her innovative performances and exciting compositions. She has called New York City home since 2012 and in the past decade has wasted no time establishing herself as one of the leading personalities of her generation on the piano and beyond. Critics laud her “light, expressive touch and solidly crafted, mainstream approach” – Mike Jurkovic (All About Jazz), while audiences delight in not only her playing, but her vibrant personality as well. Yamanaka has gained international recognition from her albums as a leader; her most recent and most intimate release, “Stairway to the Stars” (Outside In Music), features Jazz masters Mark Turner and Orlando le Fleming. Additionally, Miki has emerged as a leader of the “New York Scene” via her notable residencies at mainstay West Village sister clubs Smalls and Mezzrow. During the pandemic, she developed a successful in-home live-streaming weekly concert series cleverly titled “Miki’s Mood” where she features a veritable who’s who of NYC talent (including her husband and frequent collaborator—drummer Jimmy Macbride). The series showcases her vast knowledge of Jazz standards and tunes, often featuring themed offerings of various composers from both the Great American Songbook as well as iconic Jazz composers.

The Japanese Jazz Piano Series is the inaugural event of the new weekly Klavierhaus Wednesday Night Concert Series, which features curated sets of today’s most interesting pianists in jazz today. It is a must-see event for anyone who loves jazz music. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Japanese jazz or simply looking for a night of great music, this series promises to deliver an unforgettable experience.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit nycjazzpianofestival.com.

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