May 18, 2024

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Mamiko Watanabe plays and composes with passion and direction: Video

26.09. – Happy Birthday !!! “Unafraid to explore and incorporate different styles, Mamiko Watanabe plays and composes with passion and direction”.

“Piano trio albums rarely hit the charts these days, as they did when Eroll Garner’s Concert by the Sea(a gold record!)and Oscar Peterson’s Night Train were current. But this recording could stand in that company, if American grew big ears.” -Jim Motavalli The New York City Jazz Record

“Like the best piano trios,Watanabe’s threesome has the focus and interplay of a working band” -Jazz Inside Magazine

“Watanabe’s piano playing and leadership on both discs is deft, challenging and always solid.” – AAJ NY

“Ms.Watanabe already has a sound of her own plus impressive technique. Her creativity is impressive throughout these modern mainstream performances and she is a skilled songwriter.”
“An excellent modern jazz pianist whose playing builds on the innovations of Bill Evans and early Herbie Hancock…”
– Scott Yanow;The Los Angeles Jazz Scene Magazine

In 1999 she revived a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music and studied Jazz piano, Improvisation and Composition. She was a semi-finalist at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in Montreux, Switzerland both in 2002 and 2003. She has toured Germany, Italy and Japan and has performed with several jazz greats such as Joe Lovano, Kevin Mahogany, Bobby McFerrin, Tiger Okoshi and Phil Wilson while in college. In 2003 she received the DownBeat Student Award in the Jazz Soloist Category before she made the decision to move to New York and expand her musical horizons. Since then, Mamiko has performed at notable venues such as The Kitano NY, Blue Note NY Sunday Brunch & Late Night Groove Series, Iridium, Dizzy’s Club , The Lenox Lounge, Blues Alley (in Washington, D.C.), The Kennedy Center, Victoria Theater (at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center), Joe’s Pub and S.O.B.’s.

Her exposure to several different styles of music such as Latin, Gospel, Reggae, Funk and R&B is the result of her working with several Afro-Brazilian and African bands and playing Gospel in Church every Sunday morning. She has worked with Roland Alexander Quintet, Joe Ford, Valery Ponomarev Big Band & His Quintet and Afro-Brazilian groups such “Ogans”, “Dende&Band” and “Velly Bahia & Kazwa Band”.

As a leader, Mamiko recorded her album, “One After Another” in 2005 and released her second album,”ORIGIN/JEWEL” in 2007 which in fact is actually the combination of two separate discs; “ORIGIN” is a collection of the Funk and Latin influences compositions and “JEWEL” contains works recorded in a more straight-ahead jazz piano trio format. She started recording third album “Mother Earth” in 2010.

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