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Chihiro Yamanaka

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b. Kiryu, Japan. Yamanaka played piano from the age of four, studying classical music and was eventually awarded the grand prize of Japan’s Gumma Fresh Talent competition. In the USA, she studied at the Berklee College Of Music, graduating in 2000. She was critically praised, winning DownBeat magazine’s award for Outstanding Performance and the IAJE (International Association of Jazz Educators) Sisters In Jazz competition, following which she toured Europe with other winners. Among many artists with whom she has performed are George Benson, Gary Burton, Terri Lyne Carrington, Curtis Fuller, George Russell and Ed Thigpen. In the early 00s she was a member of DIVA, the all-female big band led by drummer Sherrie Maricle, with which group she has played concerts and recorded. Yamanaka also played in the DIVA spin-off quintet, Five Play, with which group she played on Marlene VerPlanck’s 2003 album It’s How You Play The Game. Among musicians Yamanaka has used on her recording dates are bass players Ray Parker, Ben Street and Larry Grenadier and drummers Ben Perowsky, Rodney Green and Jeff Ballard.

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