Born: September 26, 1980 Primary Instrument: Piano
With exposure to the different styles such Jazz, Funk, Latin, Gospel and inspired from being surrounded by unique melodies and rhythm while working with Brazilian and African decent, pianist Mamiko Watanabe is trying to create uniquely her own sound and give good vibration to people through music.
Mamiko Watanabe was born in Fukuoka, Japan and began studying piano at age four at the Yamaha Music School. In 1999 she revived a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music and studied Jazz piano, Improvisation and Composition. She was a semi-finalist at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival Solo Piano Competition in Montreux, Switzerland both in 2002 and 2003. She has toured Germany, Italy and Japan and has performed with several jazz greats such as Joe Lovano, Kevin Mahogany, Bobby McFerrin, Tiger Okoshi and Phil Wilson while in college. In 2003 she received the DownBeat Student Award in the Jazz Soloist Category before she made the decision to move to New York and expand her musical horizons. Since then, Mamiko has performed at notable venues such as The Kitano, Blue Note NY Sunday Brunch & Late Night Groove Series, 55 Bar, Garage, Zinc Bar, The Lenox Lounge, Blues Alley (in Washington, D.C.), The Kennedy Center, Victoria Theater (at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center), The Knitting Factory, Bitter End, Joe's Pub and S.O.B.'s.
Her exposure to several different styles of music such as Latin, Gospel, Reggae, Funk and R&B is the result of her working with several Afro-Brazilian and African bands and playing Gospel in Church every Sunday morning. She has worked with Roland Alexander Quintet, Joe Ford, Valery Ponomarev Big Band & His Quintet and Afro-Brazilian groups such Ogans, Dende and Velly Bahia & Kazwa Band.
As a leader, Mamiko recorded her album, One After Another in 2005 and released her second album,ORIGIN/JEWEL” in 2007 which in fact is actually the combination of two separate discs; ORIGIN is a collection of the Funk and Latin influences compositions and JEWEL contains works recorded in a more straight-ahead jazz piano trio format. Her latest album Mother Earth was released in 2010.
Like the best piano trios,Watanabe’s threesome has the focus and interplay of a working band -Jazz Inside Magazine
Throughout Mother Earth Watanabe displays talents as a pianist, composer and arranger that makes a listener smile and shake their head with the pleasure of it all. And on this disc, the pleasures are many.-The New York City Jazz Record
“Watanabe's piano playing and leadership on both discs is deft, challenging and always solid.” - All About Jazz NY Magazine
“Ms.Watanabe already has a sound of her own plus impressive technique. Her creativity is impressive throughout these modern mainstreem performances and she is a skilled songwriter.” - Scott Yanow; The Los Angeles Jazz Scene Magazine
Tracks: A Little Piece for Dance-Mother Earth, I Remember You, Lake, The Murmur of the Moonlight, The Moon was Reflected on the Sea, Verdure, Ina Mellow Tone, Just Making It
Personnel: Personnel: Mamiko Watanabe-Piano, Kevin Louis- Cornet&Flugelhorn(Track 5,6,&8), Ameen Saleem-Bass, Francisco Mela-Drums
Tracks: Keep Moving On, Bouncing Night, A Little Piece for Dance, Smile, The Game is Ready, Origin, A Veil of Secrecy, Here's That Rainy Day, Even If, The Game is Ready (Alternate Take), Beautiful Love, Labyrinth, Jewel, Origin (Alternate Take)
Personnel(ORIGIN): Mamiko Watanabe: piano, Ruben Austin: electric bass, Maurice Brown: trumpet, Karel Ruzika, Jr.: tenor sax, Harvey Wirht: drums, Roland Guerrero: percussion
Personnel(JEWEL):Mamiko Watanabe: piano, Massimo Biolcati: acoustic bass, Francisco Mela: drums.
"One After Another"
Tracks: Shadow, Savanna, Beat Away, Take It Easy, Say Something, Labyrinth, Jour de Pluie a Paris, The Deep Sea, Paradise
Personnel: Mamiko Watanabe - Piano, Walter Smith - Saxophone, Massimo Biolcati - Acoustic Bass, Francisco Mela - Drums
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