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A Conversation with Violinist Meg Okura

Read "A Conversation with Violinist Meg Okura" reviewed by Lorens Chuno

Meg Okura is a distinguished violinist/composer who has been decorated with several awards. Her latest album, Ima Ima, is a collection of well thought out and very well executed compositions that stem out of her role as a mother. Join Meg and I as we talk about composing, motherhood, David Bowie, and other somewhat related things. Ima Ima features Meg Okura on violin, vocals, and erhu; Tom Harrell on trumpet; Sam Newsome on soprano sax; Sam Sadigursky ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Meg Okura: IMA IMA

Read "IMA IMA" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Heritage isn't merely defined by blood and DNA. It's about who we are, who we choose to become, and what we take from the past to bring to our individual present and presence. So says this most personal of albums from Meg Okura & The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble. “Ima"--the Hebrew word for “mother" and a Japanese word for “now"--stands as a three-letter summation of Okura's being with its cross-language connections and meaning. It represents her ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Meg Okura: NPO Trio - Live at the Stone

Read "NPO Trio - Live at the Stone" reviewed by Troy Dostert

Recorded during her week-long residency at The Stone, New York, in 2016, on NPO Trio--Live at the Stone violinist Meg Okura and her colleagues, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc and soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome, produce a captivating hour-long set of music. Newsome and Pilc have performed with Okura's Pan-Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, and the two worked together on their 2017 duo release Magic Circle. Due to their substantial shared experience, the three musicians have an instantly-apparent rapport, with a synthetic vision that ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Meg Okura and the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble: Naima

Read "Naima" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

John Coltrane's original recording of “Naima" is extraordinarily beautiful, and it's possible that he never envisioned such a breathtaking version being played so many years after it had been composed. So hats off to the Japanese-born violinist and erhu player, Meg Okura, for conjuring up that version. As wave after wave of the song's melody unfolds like repeated sighs that send shivers of emotion down the spine, Okura's violin does the reverse, soaring like it has caught the draft of ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Meg Okura: Naima

Read "Naima" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Chamber jazz is often a misunderstood label and balance is to blame for it. Classical-leaning projects bearing this descriptor often lack passion and strong improvisational elements, but jazz artists who try to play swinging takes on pieces by J.S. Bach also miss the mark. Fortunately, violinist Meg Okura avoids these potential pitfalls and manages to find balance where others have failed. Okura, and her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, place strong solos within brilliantly written, formalized musical dwellings on Naima. ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Meg Okura: Naima

Read "Naima" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Naima is the name of one of saxophonist John Coltrane's more famous compositions. It's also the name of Japanese violinist Meg Okura's CD release. Joined by her nine-piece Pan Asian Jazz Ensemble, Okura has honed a finely-crafted set of chamber jazz, with all players being equals, and all players getting their chances to play the melody, and to improvise.Coltrane might seem an unlikely vehicle for a string player, if you haven't heard the Turtle Island String Quartet dig ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with Meg Okura

Read "Take Five with Meg Okura" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Meet Meg Okura:Hailed by The Guardian as “improvisational virtuosity," Meg Okura is “equally comfortable playing classical chamber music, rock and everything in between," (The New York Times). She is the founder and the leader of the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, and has won numerous grants and awards as a composer. A native of Japan, Meg toured as the concertmaster and the soloist with the Asian Youth Orchestra and made her Kennedy Center ...


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