Born: September 16
Recognized in her native Japan as a jazz prodigy (in the 5th grade she was already transcribing Bud Powell solos), Ayako Shirasaki while yet a pre-teen won many prizes including the Grand Prize at the Asakusa Jazz Competition. Her professional career began at the tender age of twelve when she began regular appearances at the J jazz club in Tokyo. Her extraordinary talent was soon recognized, and she was featured in Swing Journal.
Extremely versatile, Ayako majored in classical music at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and performed as a classical pianist for several years after graduation. But the love of the jazz idiom instilled by her father from the age of five won out, and Ayako soon returned to her first love, winning in 1995 second prize in the prestigious First Annual Heineken Jazz Competition. ...
Just a few notes out of Ayako Shirasaki’s piano are enough to realize you are listening to a very special musician. With her amazing combination of feeling, inventiveness and impressive virtuosity, Ayako is one of those musicians that make an unforgettable impression.- jazztimes.com (Wilbert Sostre)- November 2010 about her new CD Falling Leaves - Live in Hamburg
Falling Leaves is not your typical solo piano outing, it contains several magical moments listeners will turn to often.- eJazzNews.com - October 2010 about her new CD Falling Leaves - Live in Hamburg
…a highly enjoyable album by a new jazz star in the making.- AllAboutJazz-New York - September 2010 about her new CD Falling Leaves - Live in Hamburg
To my ears, Ayako is fast on her way to becoming a leading jazz light and fresh voice in the crowded field of performing jazz piano stars.- Marc Myers, JazzWax.com - September 2010
“Ayako Shirasaki is a devoted, virtuosic, daring and expressive pianist.”- Howard Mandel, president of the Jazz Journalists Association and senior contributor DOWNBEAT Magazine, September 2009
“Ayako is an extremely gifted musician. She is blessed with great technique, a fertile and creative imagination, a firm understanding of the jazz tradition and a real love for the music. I recommend Ayako without reservation.”- Pianist, Kenny Barron
“She is one amazing musician, and an incredible pianist and composer. One of the greatest pianists I’ve ever heard! Don’t dare miss her. Ayako has everything that makes a musician great.”-Pianist, Jessica Williams
“Jazz improvisation at the highest level.”- Jazzthetik, German Jazz Magazine, April 2009
“Shirasaki is a virtuoso whose technique ranges from a tender touch like the late Tommy Flanagan, and brisk runs like Bud Powell, but with a brilliant creativity all her own.”- Greg Thomas, Chief editor, Harlem World Magazine
“She’s awfully good: rhapsodic when the material demands but still quite capable of swinging with Powellish drive.”- Paul Blair, Hot House Jazz Magazine, November 2007
“Ayako has a very good sense of time and advanced harmonic ideas.”- Ted Rosenthal, Pianist and Thelonious Monk Competition Winner
“Ya’ know, the good thing about this girl is that she really can swing!!”- Dr. Buster Brown , Tap Dancer
“Ayako, you are the very best!”- Cobi Narita, Music promoter
Some Other TimeJan Matthies Records
Falling Leaves - Live In HamburgJan Matthies Records
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New York, NY
Willing to teach:
Classic, Jazz, Popular Theory, Improvisation, etc.
Also vocal accompanying is available.
All ages & levels welcome! Lessons may be given at my studio or at the student's home.