Born: December 18, 1974 Primary Instrument: Guitar
Miles Okazaki, the son of a painter and photographer, grew up in the Pacific Northwest in the small city of Port Townsend. He began to experiment with the guitar at the age of six, and remains a primarily self-taught musician. As a teenager, he was recognized with many awards for exceptional achievements in Music and Visual Art.
Okazaki's formal studies were at Harvard University, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School. He has pursued a variety of subjects, including Visual Arts, Literature and Language, Mathematics, and Music. He has toured and recorded with a wide variety of artists, including Stanley Turrentine, Lenny Pickett, Samir Chatterjee, Jane Monheit, Jen Shyu, Dan Weiss, David Binney, and others.
Recently, Okazaki has focused primarily on composing and studying improvisational concepts. In 2006, he recorded his debut album, Mirror, funding this project with his winnings as a finalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. This album, called a work of sustained collectivity as well as deep intricacy by the New York Times, won a New Works grant from Chamber Music America to produce a second volume of compositions. This project became Generations, on Sunnyside Records. Currently Okazaki plays guitar for Steve Coleman and Five Elements, and is working on several new commissions, including a new ensemble work for the French-American Jazz Exchange program, music for classical guitar, and a new collection of compositions for his third album.
The guitarist Miles Okazaki composed all the music on Mirror, his ambitious and involving debut. He also produced the album, created its striking cover illustrations and released the thing himself. . . . Mr. Okazaki has produced a work of sustained collectivity as well as deep intricacy.
-- Nate Chinen, The New York Times Critics Pick
an impressive self-released CD filled with compositions that are simultaneously complex and catchy . . . the work of a musician eager to get his career under way.
-- Time Out New York
a dynamic work of ingenuity. This intelligent, unique recording is one of this year's best releases.
-- Mark F. Turner, allaboutjazz.com
Okazaki's self-produced debut release has all the markings of a deeply searching, highly emotional musician
-- Budd Kopman, allaboutjazz.com
Okazaki's striking new release Mirror showcases an ambitious and far-reaching new talent
-- Marcus Crowder, Sacramento Bee
a stunning debut . . . as logical as Euclid and as untidy as birth
-- Mel Minter, Alibi
Okazaki achieves an impressive and distinctive sound
-- Robert Doerschuk, Downbeat
an intriguing and irrefutably, captivating set
-- Glenn Astarita, ejazznews
an audaciously ambitious debut album
-- George Kanzler, Hot House Winning Spins
a landmark in recorded guitar literature
-- Rodney Jones
Impressive, promising debut
-- Tom Hull, Village Voice Jazz Consumer's Guide
complex, attractive music . . . compelling and powerful
-- Peter Monaghan, Earshot Jazz
Okazaki is a well traveled guitar man that has a lot on the ball. This is a delightful ear opener
-- Midwest Record
On his ambitious solo debut, guitarist-composer Miles Okazaki has conceived a heady, extended work.
-- Bill Milkowski, JazzTimes
for those wanting greater breadth and depth, Okazaki's debut as a leader represents a welcome departure
-- John Kelman, allaboutjazz.com
so kinetic and electrifying I could barely stay in my seat . . . In sum, Okazaki has created something new, personal, exciting and accessible despite the complexities roiling beneath the surface. Marvelous.
-- Budd Kopman, allaboutjazz.com, live show review
Shockingly vital and very gratifying . . . at the forefront of the merger between world music elements and jazz, and the fusion here is not only successful, but points the way into possible future paths. On his first recording as leader, he certainly breaks the mould and with a vengeance. Perhaps not for the more faint-hearted, but for the rest of us, Okazaki's Mirror is a Through the Looking Glass of musical adventure.
-- Brad Walseth, jazzchicago.net
Miles Okazaki - Mirror
Dan Weiss - Tintal Drumset Solo
Jane Monheit - Surrender
Jen Shyu - Jade Tongue
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Degrees from Harvard University (B.A.), Manhattan School of Music (M.M.). Juilliard (Artist Diploma, 2010). 10 years teaching experience. Lessons in Guitar, Harmony, Rhythmic Theory, Composition.