Akiko Grace

Akiko was born in Kanagawa (Japan) at the tender age of three. She learned to play piano with her mother, who also taught classical piano at home. She became interested in improvisational music as a teenager, inspired by jazz legends like Miles Davis, Lennie Tristano, John Coltrane and Miles Davis. She attended Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and decided to go on sabbatical to study at Berklee College of Music. This led to her choosing New York City as her second home and then Boston. As the first Japanese artist on Savoy’s Savoy label, Akiko Grace released “From New York” in 2002. Akiko Grace demonstrated a delicate touch and a driving force in her amazingly crystalline piano melodies. Swing Journal Magazine selected “From New York” as the “Best Gold Disc for the Month”. According to Japanese media, Akiko Grace’s first concert in Tokyo marked the beginning of a new movement in jazz in Japan. Her second album, “Manhattan Story”, was recorded with Larry Grenadier (bass) and Bill Stewart (drummer), and was released in September 2002. “Manhattan Story”, was chosen as Best Gold Disc of the month and won the “New Star of the Year” Swing Journal Disc Award. Akiko formed a special trio in 2003 with Gary Peacock, drummer Jorge Rossy and bassist Gary Peacock. This performance was selected as the “Best Popular Concert Performance” of 2002 Music Pen Club Japan Award 2002. It was voted by 200 music writers and critics. The third album, “New York Style”, the final one in the “NY Trilogy” works, was awarded the “Japan Jazz Grand Prize”, Swing Journal Disc Award and the “Outstanding Record of the year” award from the National Arts Festival, which is organized by the Agency of Cultural Affairs in Japan. “From Oslo” Akiko’s fourth record was recorded in Rainbow Studio, Oslo, Norway, with Larry Grenadier, bassist, and legendary Oslo-based drummer Jon Christensen. His impressionistic approach made the songs a unique art form. Akiko continues to explore the ambient world and welcomes Bill Laswell as producer, bassist, and sound designer in 2006. This album, “Illume”, was recorded with electric devices. It contains a lot of mythical vibes and a wide range of expressions that pushes the boundaries of piano music. Akiko’s epic work “Graceful Vision” was recorded in 2008 with a new trio: Larry Grenadier (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums). “Graceful Vision” is a piano trio song that allows for freedom and artistic expression. The creative approach to music is beautifully exposed. Akiko’s new CD, “Pianorium”, was released in January 2009. Twelve of the twelve songs are original. This album clearly shows the rich content of Akiko Grace’s Mode. A 12″ Analog LP version “Graceful Vision” was published in April 2009. from http://www.akikograce.com

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