Toshiko Akiyoshi

Toshiko Aikiyoshi, who was influenced by Thad Jones and Gil Evans, is a notable arranger. She has been known for including elements of traditional Japanese music in her otherwise boppy charts. A strong and underrated pianist in Bud Powell’s tradition, Akiyoshi was originally born in China and moved to Japan in 1946. After playing locally, Sadao Watanabe, her sideman, was also among her musicians, Akiyoshi studied at Berklee from 1956-1959, having been encouraged and noticed by Oscar Peterson. She was married to Charlie Mariano for a while and co-led the Toshiko Mariano Quartet during the early 1960s. Toshiko spent three years in Japan after she had worked with Charles Mingus, including the Town Hall Concert. She was back in New York in 1965 and did a radio program. In 1970, she formed a quartet along with Lew Tabackin. Toshiko Akiyoshi, who moved to Los Angeles in 1972 with her large band, was a great soloist and featured fine soloists like Gary Foster, Bobby Shew, and Tabackin. Before Akiyoshi moved to New York in 1981, they recorded several albums. Both Akiyoshi as well as Tabackin have been very active since their relocation. However, her reformed big band in New York has received less attention than it received in L.A. Her rank among the top jazz arrangers over the past few decades is actually lower. Allmusic

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