Born: August 31, 1980 Primary Instrument: Violin
Tomoko Omura is among today's leading voices in jazz violin. “Roots”, her debut album for Inner Circle, is a compelling tribute to her native Japan, featuring original arrangements of ten classic Japanese folk and popular songs. In the words of fellow violinist Christian Howes, “'Roots' is a tremendous accomplishment, and undoubtedly one of the most important and creative jazz albums produced by a violinist in recent history.”
Strongly informed by the jazz violin tradition, her 2008 self-released debut album, “Visions”, is a collection of seven dynamic original pieces, each of which is dedicated to one of the greats of the instrument, from Stuff Smith to Zbigniew Seifert. Violinst Matt Glaser praises “Visions” as such: “Her playing here is uniformly amazing, with great ideas, great tone, perfect intonation and great feel...”. “Mark's Passion”, dedicated to Mark Feldman, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition. The release of “Visions” also prompted Strings Magazine to name Omura a “Rising Star” in 2009.
Originally from Shizuoka, Japan, she began studying the violin at a young age with her mother, and began playing jazz music while studying at Yokohama National University. In 2004, Tomoko relocated to the United States when she was awarded a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While at Berklee, Tomoko worked with such legendary musicians as George Garzone, Hal Crook, Ed Tomassi, Jamey Haddad, Matt Glaser and Rob Thomas. In 2005, during her sophomore year, she was awarded Berklee's prestigious Roy Haynes award; an award given to one student for their exceptional improvisational skills. Tomoko was the first violinist in Berklee's history to receive this award. She graduated summa cum laude in 2007.
Since moving to NY in 2010, Tomoko has performed with a wide range of musicians including Fabian Almazan, Vadim Neselovskyi, Paquito D'Rivera, The Mahavishnu Project, Aubrey Johnson, Tammy Scheffer, and Simon Yu's Exotic Experiment. She is featured on Almazan's Blue Note/ArtistShare debut recording, “The Rhizome Project”. She also currently performs regularly with vintage jazz band Carte Blanche, and has appeared on two of their releases. She has previously been a full time member of world music band, The Guy Mendilow Ensemble, and Celtic music band, RUNA.
Awards:Roy Haynes Award, 2005, Berklee College of Music
Honorable Mention, 2008 International Songwriting Competition
Tomoko Omura's Visions is a fine example of jazz violin for those who want to explore beyond the Grappelli genre. Omura is a strong improviser:snappy phrasing, harmonic scope and a willingness to open out run through the music, whether it is post-bop or fusion-tinged. At the same time, the sound is unforced, understated but not limp, clean but not prissy. Bassist Dan Carpel is no less laid-back, while the drums provide drive in the more up-tempo numbers. The overall effect is a fresh group sound that mixes a contemporary feel and established jazz idioms with considerable success. For the violin, this is a rarity.
Enigmatic Vision: New World Order: Stephane's Waltz: Zbigniew: Mark's Passion: Stuffy: Italian Gem.
Personel: Tomoko Omura: Violin, Victor Gould: Piano, Rhodes, Dan Carpel: Bass, Jeffrey Fajardo: Drums.
As A Side Musician
Jazz Revelation Records
On "New Visions"
On "Be With U". As A Side Musician
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