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About Yoko Miwa
Since her arrival in the United States in 1996, Japanese improviser Yoko Miwa has earned a reputation for being one of the more lyrical, melodic, and accessible pianists in the acoustic jazz realm. An economical player, Miwa's forte is straight-ahead post-bop, and the pianists who have done the most to influence her lyrical improvisations include Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Ahmad Jamal, and Herbie Hancock.
Born May 22, 1970 in Kobe, Japan, Miwa began studying classical piano at the age of four. She also studied voice when she was growing up, although she is primarily an instrumentalist. After graduating from high school, she attended the Osaka College of Music in Osaka, Japan in the late '80s. It was there that she studied with jazz organist/pianist Minoru Ozone, father of the well-known pianist Makoto Ozone. Primarily a classical pianist at that point, Miwa became more and more jazz-minded in the early '90s -- and when she entered Japan's Koyo Conservatory of Music in 1995, decided to focus full-time on jazz.
The following year, a 25-year-old Miwa was awarded a scholarship to Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music, where she studied jazz theory and performance. After graduating from Berklee in 1999, she joined the college's faculty. In the early 2000s, Miwa began accompanying singer Kevin Mahogany (who she met at Berklee), and it was also around that time that she became the pianist in the Ryles Jazz Orchestra (which featured her extensively on the Live at Ryles CD).
Miwa's first album as a leader, In the Mist of Time, was released in Japan on the Tokuma label in 2001; her second album, Fadeless Flower, was recorded in Boston the following year and came out in Japan on Polystar Records in 2003. Two years later, she returned with Canopy of Stars. The concert album Live at Scullers Jazz Club appeared in 2011. In 2017, Miwa delivered the trio album, Pathways. ~ Alex Henderson
- Kobe, Japan
- May 22, 1970
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