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Chihiro Yamanaka

Chihiro Yamanaka, Universal Music/Blue Note recording artist, is one of the most exciting jazz pianists and composers of her generation, and the leader of the Chihiro Yamanaka Trio.

The new Chihiro Yamanaka CD, Somethin' Blue, is her Blue Note Records debut.

Chihiro has been a Universal Music/Verve recording artist since 2005, the same year in which she was named Swing Journal’s “Best New Artist." On the occasion of Universal's recent acquisition of Blue Note Records – in time for Blue Note’s 75th anniversary – Chihiro made the move to Blue Note. As a newly minted Blue Note artist, she has been a big part of the 75th anniversary celebrations, including a concert at the Blue Note Tokyo in which she performed with all-stars including bassist Ron Carter.

Chihiro, who most often performs and records in trio format, assembled a sextet for the Somethin' Blue sessions and created a new compositional universe that places this 2014 album in the lineage of classic Blue Note recordings. Her impressive technical mastery of the piano combines with her improvisational command to make her a member of the pantheon of great pianists who have recorded for Blue Note throughout its history.

Chihiro’s music pivots between her strikingly original compositions and her unique arrangements in which she accomplishes the impressive feat of introducing the element of surprise into some of the most famous songs in the jazz repertoire, contemporary popular music, and even the works of classical composers.

On Chihiro's 2013 CD, Molto Cantabile, she lovingly fractures classical gems, including one that has become a staple of her live shows, Beethoven's "Für Elise," which is exposed to an improbable series of kaleidoscopic variations which could withstand the involvement of knuckles and which let loose a torrent of effects that could lead the listener to wonder whether it's the music of Beethoven or of Thelonious Monk. As this unusual music unfolds, one could easily imagine both Beethoven and Monk looking on with astonishment and, ultimately, complete approval.

Chihiro took this concept in a different direction with her Beatles tribute, the 2012 CD Because, a groundbreaking disc that features some of the most creative reworkings of Beatles classics ever recorded. Along with the title track, “Because” (from Abbey Road), Chihiro transforms such great songs as “Yesterday” and “Michelle” into glittering vistas of her musical imagination.

Chihiro does all of her studio recording in New York City, working with some of the greatest talent in jazz. Her recordings have featured prominent artists such as Jaleel Shaw, Ben Williams, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Larry Grenadier, Jeff Ballard, Kendrick Scott, Gene Jackson, Vicente Archer, Robert Hurst, Yasushi Nakamura, Yoshi Waki, John Davis and Bernard “Pretty” Purdie.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Somethin' Blue

Blue Note Reocrds
2014

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Reminiscence

Decca Music Group
2012

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Videos

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