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Mamiko Watanabe

Unafraid to explore and incorporate different styles, Mamiko Watanabe plays and composes with passion and direction.


Watanabe's piano playing and leadership on both discs is deft, challenging and always solid

All About Jazz NY Magazine


Like the best Piano trios, Watanabe's threesome has the focus and interplay of a working band

Jazz Inside Magazine


Throughout Mother Earth Watanabe displays talents as a pianist, composer and arranger that makes a listener smile and shake their head with the pleasure of it all. And on this disc, the pleasures are many.

The New York City Jazz Record


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.

Scott Yanow, The Los Angeles Jazz Scene Magazine


Some people, it seems, are born with Jazz in their blood. Mamiko Watanabe started life like many girls growing up in Fukuoka, Japan. But at the age of 5 she began studying piano at the Yamaha Music School. Mamiko's obvious talent would eventually win her a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Now living in New York, Mamiko has released two Jazz albums, explored several other genres of music and performed around the world. So if you're in the mood for some soulful expressions with an international flavor, come join the musical journey of Mamiko Watanabe.

Andrew, J-Pop World 


Such sweet and enticing compositions you've done Mamiko ... well written, and beautifully performed .. .lovely works indeed .. .thank you for sharing them here ... you have wonderful artistry .... my very best to you ... always.

Bruce C.,


I saw Mamiko Watanabe at Fat Cat, NYC, NY on November 7,2007 playing her music with a quartet. Performing with Mamiko were Tenor Sax, Karel Ruzicka, String Bass, Erik Privert and Drums, Ferenc Nemeth. What I noticed in her was her rhythmic sense, which was so strong in that she knew all the Latin Rhythm plus she integrated it all in her playing with the traditional jazz harmony. Some of her chord progressions were very original and kept the string bass and saxophone player with there eyes open. She did not always stick to the 32 bar or 12 bar song form she exactly took the time to arrange her music having many sections: A,B,C, and D. She liked to conclude some of her tunes with a strong vamp and drum solo building into a climax and ending the tune. I was really impressed with her balance with the left hand chords and the right hand melody. She has a strong definition in how to keep a proper balance between the sound, rhythm and melody.

Greg Henry Waters Newsletter


In an era where "going green" has become one of our most prominent and important mottoes, jazz may have in "Mother Earth" a fine concept album that pays tribute to our planet. Comprised mainly of original songs, this paean to the planet's beauty is played with fire and sensitivity by this stellar pianist and her band. Watanabe sprints off the block immediately with the Latin burner: "A little piece for dance, Mother Earth." She is a dynamo on the keys, whipping up dazzling runs Ameen Saleem and Francisco Mela percolating on bass and drums beside her. The band's bouncing rendition of "I remember You" turns into a ditty suggesting grinning recollections of good times.

Terrell Holmes, The New York City Jazz Record


With the release of One After Another, add Mamiko Watanabe to the list of talented jazz pianists that have come out of Japan in recent years. Watanabe composed all of the songs on this impressive debut and they show a strong, fully developed hard bop sensibility. Watanabe's composing MO is to start off a song with a strong theme or head, as a sort of attention-grabbing mechanism, then to pull it back to where it becomes an exploratory vehicle for the soloists ("The Deep Sea exemplifies this as much as any song on the disc). The tunes are challenging and well-crafted and while Watanabe is a fine pianist, her composing is actually her most compelling aspect. The Latin-flavored "Shadow begins with an impressive fusillade of percussion by Francisco Mela, who plays over a repeated figure and features highlights and spices from saxophonist Walter Smith. "Savanna opens in a space where pianist McCoy Tyner seemed apt to go, Smith playing deftly across the melody and clever hard bop arrangement. The band performs well on the Monk-inspired "Take It Easy, which has melodic and thematic wisps of Monk, but not, ironically enough, in Watanabe's playing

Terryl Kent Holmes, All About Jazz, 2007


Lisette Santiago first met Mamiko Watanabe over two years ago, as members of the Brazilian band, Ogans. Both developed a mutual respect and musical relationship that made bringing Mamiko into the project an easy choice. With a repertoire consisting of boleros, guajiras, son, sambas, etc., DOS//DUAS is an enjoyable journey into traditional Latin and Brazilian musical genres that are lyrically, melodically and rhythmically beautiful.

Lisette Santiago


Soon after college Watanabe began her professional music career, traveling across the globe doing tours in Germany, Italy, and Japan and has now come to New York to further cultivate her skills and expand her musical horizons. What makes the music of Mamiko Watanabe so unique is her seamless blending of a multitude of eclectic cultural influences. Latin, Gospel, Reggae, Funk and R&B are among the musical styles that Watanabe showcases in her jazz music. In fact, states: "Unafraid to explore and incorporate different styles, Mamiko Watanabe plays and composes with passion and direction" and LA Jazz Scene Magazine commended her technique and exclaimed that her "creativity is impressive throughout" her performances. Don't miss the chance to see Mamiko Watanabe to perform every Tuesday in March at the Kitano

Gotham Jazz

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