The acclaimed Japanese pianist Yoko Miwa takes her place in history as part of a select group of women instrumentalists that excel in the jazz world’s version of a triple threat: a commanding bandleader; writer of complex compositions; and a performer of virtuoso ability. Nelson Brill, reviewer for Stereo Times, says about a performance, “the house was full and Miwa and her trio were in exquisite form. There was lots of great wavelike energy from her piano and beautiful chemistry with the rest of the band, and the audience was leaning in on every note.”
The pianist has become a Boston favorite in over a decade of leading the Yoko Miwa Trio, repeatedly selling out the Scullers Jazz Club and filling the renowned Regattabar with a concert inspired by legendary jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan. Miwa has earned an international reputation as a lyrical, melodic, and accessible player with performances at venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Philadelphia Museum, and the Monterey Jazz Festival in Noto, Japan. Many hear the influences of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, but she also can play with a muscularity associated with the likes of McCoy Tyner. Miwa has released four CDs on major labels in Japan and has appeared on numerous radio shows on NPR, WGBH, and WICN, among others.
Born in Kobe, Japan, Miwa studied classical piano from age four and 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. 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.