Born: September 21 Primary Instrument: Piano
Atzko was born and raised in Japan, and currently resides in Amsterdam,The Netherlands. She studied classical piano from an early age and opened her eyes to jazz in her early teens. She is a self-taught jazz pianist. While studying law as a college student in Keio University, Tokyo, she was an active member of the jazz big band, Keio Light Music Society. After graduation she appeared in jazz clubs in Tokyo, gigging in quintets and eventually formed her own piano trio. From 1994 to 2001, Atzko lived in New York, where she learned from jazz master Steve Kuhn. Her music was influenced by this association. After Atzko moved back to Japan, she performed in live gigs in jazz clubs in the Tokyo metropolitan area. She also has composed music for C.G. animation for children and radio drama, and arranged the jazz music for Rosco, the piano-violin duo. In 2005, she moved to Amsterdam, and released her first album Amstel Delight (PJL), followed by ‘Amstel Moments’ (BJL) playing Duo with Dutch bassist Frans van der Hoeven in 2009. She also made a live recording ‘Turnaround’ with Yosuke Inoue, the top bassist in Japan. In April 2012, she made a unique recording for only piano and drums with Dutch drummer, Sebastiaan Kaptein. Also the Music App Book of Ballads (by Space shower Inc.) came out in 2012. Her music was adopted in ‘Jazz Mix’ on KLM’s On Board Music program (Feb-May, 2011). In February 2013 she again partnered-up with bassist Frans van der Hoeven and made their second Duo album ‘Waltz for Debby’ which is highly acclaimed by jazz critics in both Netherlands and Japan. The Duo was invited to Japan in June, 2013 by Camerata/Tokyo, and had a great success on their concerts in Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Kagoshima and Tokyo. Tickets for Tokyo concert were sold out within three days. Recently she had an exclusive licence with e-Onkyo focus on high-resolution recordings collaborated with Dutch sound engineer in Hilversum, the Netherlands.
Atzko also works as a writer, and her work includes the interview with Helene LaFaro Fernandez; talking about my brother, Scott LaFaro, and a monthly column ‘Amsterdam Report’ on a web magazine for Japanese jazz lovers. Her another noteworthy work as a translator includes; translation of Dads and Daughters (Nikkei BP, 2003), co-translation of 100 Procent Lena (Nikkei BP, 2008), co-Japanese-subtitling of the DVD, A Life Devoted to Art/Vincent van Gogh (Van Gogh Museum, 2010) and Getekend: Fiep Westendorp (Fiep Amsterdam BV, 2010).
“Japanese jazz pianist Atzko Kohashi, who is self-taught but also took lessons from Steve Kuhn, is in love with Amsterdam. While she was successful in her home country and even spent seven years in the jazz Mecca New York, she waxes lyrical about the musical climate in Amsterdam in her interviews and the liner notes to her latest CD 'Amstel Moments'. Atzko enjoys the freedom and tolerance, the candor and down-to-earth mentality that permeate life in 'Mokum', the Dutch capital. Perhaps that's why she called her debut album 'Amstel Delight'. Yet it is part coincidence that she took root in the fertile Dutch musical soil. She arrived here as an expat together with her husband, who was posted to Amsterdam. So we can only wait and see how much longer we'll be able to enjoy Atzko live at the Bimhuis. That's why it was a good choice that she recorded her music. An even better choice was that she engaged bassist Frans van der Hoeven, who is well known in jazz circles and selected a superb recording studio. The mastering of 'Amstel Moments' is also agreeably warm. This has worked wonders for the meandering, resolute play of Atzko in the style of Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans, and for the rounded out sound of Frans' bass. You won't hear the bustle of the city with Kohashi, as her own compositions and interpretations of less well known American repertoire exude a delightful serenity. Atzko plays with a mellowed maturity and a deep passion for piano jazz, possibly betraying a profound connection to Zen Buddhism. (Jazzflits.nl- 9 Nov 2009)
Natural, Warm, Human; The melody of life abroad from Atzko Kohashi (The Holland Times September 2009)
Atzko Kohashi releases her new CD in a fantastic style we know from Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. This is a definite 'must hear', an album that will grow on you. A wonderful interplay between the piano, played by Atzko, and the bassist Frans van der Hoeven. (Concerto, Platomania/Amsterdam, 2009)
Including their repertoire on the CD “Amstel Moments,” the duo by Atzko Kohashi and Frans van der Hoeven sounds open-minded and heart-to-heart, being neither stylish nor superficial. It's pleasant but still very thoughtful. “ (Music Magazine/Japan, May 2009)
”The duo played by Atzko Kohashi and Frans van der Hoeven has an aesthetic restraint, being neither too much nor too little, which seems something common with Zen philosophy.” (Swing Journal/Japan, May 2009)
Amazing interpretation on Don't Explain within just 4 minute 23 second!! It's very thoughtful and artistic, giving us a feeling of dialogue beneath it. (M.Goto/ Jazz critic, June 2009)
Atzko Kohashi(piano) & Frans van der Hoeven (bass), Waltz for Debby (TONIQ records, 2013)
Atzko Kohashi(piano) & Sebastiaan Kaptein (drums), Dualtone (TONIQ records, 2013)
Atzko Kohashi(piano) & Yosuke Inoue(bass), Turnaround (What's New records, 2010)
Atzko Kohashi(piano) & Frans van der Hoeven (bass), Amstel Moments (BJL, 2009)
Atzko Kohashi Trio Amstel Delights (PJL, 2005)
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