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Take Five With Kyoko Kitamura

Kyoko Kitamura BY

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Meet Kyoko Kitamura:
A former journalist with childhood piano training at Juilliard Pre-College and a stint as a one-time war reporter on her résumé, Kyoko Kitamura is an oddball vocal improviser and composer who has performed and/or recorded with many distinguished musicians including Anthony Braxton, Reggie Workman, Steve Coleman, Jim Staley and Taylor Ho Bynum. Recently, she appears on Trillium E (New Braxton House 2011), the first ever studio-recording of an Anthony Braxton opera, and released her first solo album, Armadillo In Sunset Park, a collection of music written for the New York-based dance company Mark Lamb Dance.

She can also be heard on the critically acclaimed Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings release Madeleine Dreams (Firehouse 12 Records 2009), Jamie Baum's Solace (Sunnyside Records 2008), and Steve Coleman's Lucidarium (Label Bleu 2004), among others.

She currently works with Anthony Braxton as a vocalist in his Tri-Centric Orchestra, and as a board member of his Tri-Centric Foundation. Her own songs are often based on her real-life experiences. AllMusicGuide calls her "major asset... Kitamura is an expressive vocalist who knows how to be quirky and eccentric but is also quite musical."

Instrument(s):
Voice, piano.

Teachers and/or influences?
Everyone that I crossed paths with musically, including Jane Carlson (with whom I studied piano at Juilliard Pre-College division), Anthony Braxton, Jay Clayton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Kendra Shank, Fay Victor, Russ Lossing, Jim Staley, Yayoi Ikawa, dancer Mark Lamb, and more... plus all the musicians I listen to including Ahmad Jamal, Dirty Projectors, George Aperghis, Rickie Lee Jones, m-flo, Sakanaction, and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Your sound and approach to music:
Honesty.

Your dream band:
Set a specific time for the whole earth and simultaneously have the entire population sing long tones for 10 minutes.

Favorite venue:
I love venues which are part of the history of the scene. Roulette and Downtown Music Gallery would definitely be two of my favorites.

CDs you are listening to now:
Anthony Braxton, Quintet (Tristano) 1997 (New Braxton House);

Adam Tendler, Live in Maui;

John Cage, Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano (Self-Released free download);

Taylor Ho Bynum, Apparent Distance (Firehouse 12 Records);

Lee Hyla, We Speak Etruscan (New World Records);

Sakanaction, kikUUiki (Victor Entertainment);

m-flo, Award SuperNova: Loves Best (Rhythm Zone).

Desert Island picks:
Anthony Braxton, For Alto (Delmark).

By Day:
Mom, which is a day and night job.

Photo Credit: Michael Weintrob

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