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Mamiko Watanabe

Mamiko Watanabe’s latest album "Mother Earth" was released in 2010. She recorded her album, "One After Another" in 2005 and released her second album,"ORIGIN/JEWEL,” which is actually a combination of two separate discs, in 2007. "ORIGIN" is a collection of Funk and Latin influenced compositions and "JEWEL" contains contemporary jazz compositions performed in the classic acoustic piano trio format.

Mamiko was born in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1980. She began studying piano at the age four at the Yamaha Music School, and her talent eventually won her a scholarship in 1999 to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston where she studied Jazz piano, Improvisation, and Composition.

She was a semi-finalist at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in Montreux, Switzerland, in 2002 and 2003. She has toured Germany, Italy, and Japan and has performed with 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 moving to New York, Mamiko has performed at notable venues such as The Kitano, Blue Note NY Sunday Brunch & Late Night Groove Series, 55 Bar, Garage, Zinc Bar, Iridium, The Lenox Lounge, Blues Alley (in Washington, D.C.), The Kennedy Center, Victoria Theater (at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center), The Knitting Factory, Bitter End, Joe's Pub, and S.O.B.'s. She has worked with Roland Alexander Quintet, Joe Ford, Valery Ponomarev Big Band & His Quintet and Afro-Brazilian groups such "Ogans,” "Dende," and "Velly Bahia & Kazwa Band.”

Mamiko Watanabe doesn't only compose and perform Jazz; some say she lives life in the true spirit of Jazz. Combining sounds, rhythms, and phrases from many music genres including Jazz, Latin, Gospel, Reggae, Funk, and R&B, she has been inspired by her work with several Afro-Brazilian and African bands to create her own unique sound.

When asked about her CD debut by J-pop world she shared: " I was lucky enough to meet the excellent sax player Walter Smith and drummer Francisco Mela while I was a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston. They played for my senior recital in Berklee. Drummer Mela have been very important and an inspiration in developing my music. I met bassist Massimo Biolcati in New York. He also graduated from Berklee and has been playing for some of my shows in New York. Some musicians met other band members for the first time at the studio, and It took only four hours to record because they were very strong musicians! I also recorded duet songs with an excellent conga player later. We mostly improvised at the studio."

The music world is a richer world thanks to our young master - Mamiko Watanabe. She combines talent, skill, and the true spirit of Jazz. 

 

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