Totally Toshiko: Celebrating Toshiko Akiyoshi at 88

IMJS: Japanese Cultural Heritage Initiatives, Columbia University, continues to spotlight amazing treasures from Japan. This year, the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1968, we are pleased to present to fellow New Yorkers an evening of music, TOTALLY TOSHIKO, in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on November 27, 2018 at 8:00 PM, celebrating beloved jazz trailblazer, pioneer composer, arranger, big-band leader, and pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi in her 88th year, a milestone in time (called beiju [pronounced bay-joo] in Japan) that calls for honoring the creative achievements of one who has reached that age.

At age 23, Toshiko was discovered playing in a Tokyo club by Oscar Peterson then on tour in Japan. Astounded by her jazz piano, he persuaded his own label to record her and promoted her. Toshiko then came to the States, the first Japanese to crash the gates of what is now Berklee College of Music. With prodigious jazz intuition and talent and an equal quantity of grit in the face of the heavy weather of prejudice against women composers and Asians in the instrumental world of American jazz, she prevailed in the States, developing her own signature trademark style writing woodwinds into her compositions and arrangements for her own 16-piece big band. Every year for 50 years she recorded studio albums, receiving more than 14 Grammy nominations, Grammy Album of the Year (1976) and NEA Jazz Master in 2007. Small of stature, huge of heart and soul in the language of music, Toshiko Akiyoshi has a permanent place in the history of jazz. In the intimate yet fulsome Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall it will be an honor for all of us to celebrate an evening of TOTALLY TOSHIKO. The program features her solo piano, followed by a special quartet with Lew Tabackin (tenor sax, flute, and piccolo), Yasuhi Nakamura (bass), and Mark Taylor (drums) she has assembled for this occasion.

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