Home » Jazz Musicians » Yasushi Nakamura

Yasushi Nakamura

Yasushi Nakamura is praised for imaginative, quicksilver bass lines that deepen the groove. His blend of guitar-like precision and gut-level blues has sparked collaborations with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hank Jones, Dave Douglas, Steve Miller, etc. With his charismatic stage presence and artful, hard swinging melodic touch, Nakamura is a first-call performer capturing new audiences and fans around the world.

Born in Tokyo, Nakamura moved to the United States at age 9, and considers both places home. He began with clarinet and tenor saxophone, but his older brother’s study of guitar and drums drove him to pick up the bass. His love of rock and funk aside, the music of Charlie Parker, Ray Brown, Miles Davis were a potent influence on him. Nakamura received a BA in Jazz Performance from Berklee School of Music in 2000, and was awarded a full scholarship to The Juilliard School for his Artist Diploma in 2006. He credits Myron Walden as an early champion, and keeps close ties to Juilliard mentors Victor Goines, Wycliffe Gordon, and Carl Allen, Ben Wolfe all of whom maintain him in their bands.

Nakamura’s career is flourishing, with consistent engagements at premier jazz festivals including Tokyo, North Sea, Monterey, Ravinia, and venues such as Birdland, Village Vanguard, the Blue Note, the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall. In 2014, he was honored to play the “NEA Jazz Masters Concert: Celebrating Jamey Abersold, Anthony Braxton, Richard Davis, and Keith Jarrett,” sharing the stage with Joe Lovano and Dave Liebman. A wide array of projects permits him to explore musical styles and collaborations. In 2016, he recorded with one of his long-time inspirations, Toshiko Akiyoshi, for her recent release, Porgy and Bess. His performance with Akiyoshi’s Jazz Orchestra was also broadcast as a documentary film. Recent works include “For the Love of Duke” with New York City Ballet choreographed by Susan Stroman, and “Ellington at Christmas: Nutcracker Suite” with Savion Glover, Lizz Wright, the Abyssinian Baptist Choir, and David Berger conducting. In 2010, he toured the Middle East with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Kings of the Crescent City” project, and he toured Asia in 2008 with the Juilliard All-Stars. As an educator, Nakamura has led master classes and summer intensive courses at the The Juilliard School, New School, Koyo Conservatory, Osaka Geidai, and Savannah Swing Central.

In 2016, Nakamura release his first album "A Lifetime Treasure" and in 2017 he also released 2nd album "Hometown" from Atelier Sawano featuring Lawrence Fields, Bigyuki, and Clarence Penn which received album of the year 2017 in JazzLife magazine.


Tags

4
Album Review

Christian Sands: Christmas Stories

Read "Christmas Stories" reviewed by Dave Linn


Early on, Christian Sands had a passion for music. He was enrolled in music classes at age four and wrote his first composition at age five. He started playing professionally at the age of ten and studied at the Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut before receiving his Bachelor of Arts and Masters degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. A protégé of Dr. Billy Taylor, Sands released his debut album at the age of 12 and came ...

9
Album Review

Emmet Cohen: Master Legacy Series Volume 5 Featuring Houston Person

Read "Master Legacy Series Volume 5 Featuring Houston Person" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic


From its languid beginning, saxophonist Houston Person's own warmly engaging “Why Not?," to its closing, Etta James' slinky seduction “Sunday Kind of Love," Emmet Cohen's Master Legacy Series Vol. 5 Featuring Houston Person is a decidedly laid-back affair, unlike much of its predecessors which featured Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, George Coleman, Benny Golson and Albert “Tootie" Heath. Maybe that is just the eighty-eight year old Person's influence. His big tone and big presence fill the studio with a ...

6
Album Review

Amina Figarova: Joy

Read "Joy" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


Pianist Amina Figarova released an album in 2005 that was about as far away from the theme of “joy" as could be. September Suite (Munich Records) explored the deadly events of September 11, 2001 (she was in New York at the time; she experienced it). It is an album that she called: “An Ode to Mourning striving to articulate the various stages of grief in musical terms." In 2022 Figarova turns 180 degrees to embrace optimism and a ...

1
Album Review

Thomas Linger: Out In It

Read "Out In It" reviewed by Pierre Giroux


For his first release as a leader, pianist Thomas Linger has surrounded himself with first rate musicians: guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Yasushi Nakamura]] and drummer {{Joe Farnsworth, each of whom share Linger's commitment to a reflective approach. All of the numbers are originals by Linger, with covers of “Lush Life" by Billy Strayhorn and “Woofin'and Tweetin" by Art Farmer. The album's strong sound comes in no small part because the recording was completed, in July 2021, at the Van Gelder ...

41
Album Review

Thomas Linger: Out In It

Read "Out In It" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Any pianist who can enlist the sort of blue-chip rhythm section which Thomas Linger has for a debut album must be not only talented but unselfish, which is precisely the case on Out In It; Linger is accompanied by a trio of seasoned New York-based jazz luminaries, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Yashushi Nakamura and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Even though Linger is the nominal leader, he makes it clear from the outset that this is a quartet, one in which everyone is ...

10
Album Review

Greg Germann: Tales of Time

Read "Tales of Time" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Tales of Time is the sort of album musicians are most apt to dissect and appreciate. New York-based drummer Greg Germann uses various time signatures to subdivide eleven of his original compositions, building a strong rhythmic platform from which to launch his assorted themes. Germann supervises a quartet whose other members are tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, pianist Luis Perdomo and bassist Yasushi Nakamura (singer Chelsea Forgenie is front and center on the ballad “Time to Move On"). ...

6
Album Review

Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band: Soul Conversations

Read "Soul Conversations" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Drummer Ulysses Owens Jr.'s Big Band comes out swinging on its debut recording, Soul Conversations, thundering through Michael Dease's incendiary arrangement of the Dizzy Gillespie/John Lewis flame-thrower, “Two Bass Hit." For more such heat, however, the listener must move forward to Track 5, John Coltrane's impulsive “Giant Steps," thence to Track 9 for Charles Turner III's earnest homage to “Harlem Harlem Harlem," on which he doubles as vocalist. That's not to say that everything in between is ...

Read more articles

Photos

Concerts

Mar 11 Mon
Mar 12 Tue
Stream
Lawrence Fields Trio
Moods
Zurich, Switzerland
Mar 14 Thu
Stream

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

To the Surface

Rhythm 'n' Flow Records
2024

buy

Dust Settles

Tippin' Records
2023

buy

Master Legacy Series...

Bandstand Records
2023

buy

Christmas Stories

Mack Avenue Records
2023

buy

Out In It

Cellar Records
2022

buy

Joy

Amfi Records
2022

buy

Parachute

From: To the Surface
By Yasushi Nakamura

It Happens Like That

From: It Happens Like That
By Yasushi Nakamura

Rush Hour

From: Tales of Time
By Yasushi Nakamura

Miles

From: Momentum
By Yasushi Nakamura

What Goes Up Must Come Down

From: Momentum
By Yasushi Nakamura

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.