The Checkout - Live at Berklee: Chihiro Yamanaka
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New York's WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM and NPRmusic proudly present year two of The Checkout - Live at Berklee. Critically acclaimed, New York-based performers return to their Berklee roots and perform for the world from Boston's Cafe 939.
See the action video streamed live worldwide at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on NPRmusic.org, and hear it in New York on WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM or wbgo.org. You can also listen to every show anytime after its airdate archived at Checkoutjazz.org and NPRmusic.org.
Chihiro Yamanaka, Universal Classics and Jazz recording artist and 1998 Berklee alumna, is one of the most exciting jazz pianists and composers of her generation, and the leader of the Chihiro Yamanaka Trio.
This has been a milestone year for Yamanaka, a year that delivered her trio’s first appearance in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., a concert that was featured on National Public Radio’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater. Yamanaka's recent U.S. concerts have included New York’s Iridium Jazz Club, Dizzy's at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, and the Regattabar in Boston, and she was featured in a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall.
Yamanaka’s new CD, Reminiscence (Universal/EmArcy/Decca), is her second U.S. release, following last year's U.S. major label debut, Forever Begins (Universal/EmArcy/Decca). Reminiscence reached the no. 1 spot on the Japanese jazz charts and won the Nissan Presents Jazz Japan Award for Album of the Year.
Her music pivots between her strikingly original compositions and her unique arrangements of standards, in which she accomplishes the impressive feat of introducing the element of surprise into some of the most famous songs in the standard jazz repertoire. Yamanaka is also an accomplished classical pianist, whose recent concerts have included a performance of Gershwin's “Rhapsody In Blue” with the Tokyo Symphony.
Yamanaka “tore into two originals at the top of her set, sounding a bit like Mulgrew Miller on classically trained steroids, and with a progressive bent. When she announced 'Take Five,' the crowd let out a gleeful 'ahh'—but they weren’t ready for the voracious re-harmonization, full of upward-creeping bass lines and chromatic descents, or her mid-song interpolation of 'In Your Own Sweet Way,' retrofitted in 5/4 time. Right and left, jaws were dropping." – Jazz Times, Giovanni Russonello