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“Ima, You Don’t Look Jewish,” A Three-year Old Said To Her Mother.


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On Mother’s Day, Meg Okura, who converted to Judaism four years ago, will release Ima Ima, featuring trumpeter Tom Harrell and guitarist Rez Abbasi. Ima Ima (mom in Hebrew and now in Japanese) will be her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble's fourth album, showcasing extensive works composed since her pregnancy, for 10-piece chamber jazz ensemble. She sees this album as a musical platform for exploring her new Jewish faith, her Japanese heritage, her passion for jazz, and love for family. “Ima Ima," which means “mom” in Hebrew and “now” in Japanese, symbolizes four generations of women, from her grandmother (who passed away during the production of this album) to her daughter.

The album explores a wide range of timbres with Riza Printup on harp, Sam Newsome on soprano saxophone, Anne Drummond on flutes, Sam Sadigursky on bass clarinet, Brian Marsella on piano, Pablo Aslan on bass, and Jared Schonig on drums. Okura who blends the sounds of East and West first became intrigued with the idea of forming a large chamber jazz ensemble after touring with the Michael Brecker Quindectet and again with Emilio Solla y la Inestable de Brooklyn, for which she was nominated for a Grammy.

And it has proven to be a worthwhile endeavor. Okura has since received numerous accolades including the New Music USA Project Grant and American Composer’s Forum’s J-Fund, and more to be announced in the coming month. Elliot Simon from The New York City Jazz Record wrote: “Meg Okura and The PACJE have no peer in melding classical and jazz within an ethnically informed chamber setting.”

So sit back and listen, while Okura and her multi-cultural orchestra take you from the East to the West and back again with their haunting melodies, exotic rhythms, and riveting performance.

Meg Okura & The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble will celebrate the release of IMA IMA on August 20, 2018 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.

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