Ever since she made New York City her home in 2010, Ayumi Ishito became one of the busiest saxophonists on the scene. Throughout her illustrious career, in addition to performing as a sidewoman and with her own projects on the East Coast, her music has taken her to prestigious venues, concert halls and renown music festivals worldwide.
Ayumi Ishito was born and raised in Ishikawa, Japan. At the age of 4, Ayumi began her musical studies on classical piano. At the age of 19, she began playing tenor saxophone in a student big band at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. One year after joining the band, she began studying tenor saxophone and jazz improvisation with Hiroshi Ozone in Kobe. The influence of tenor sax greats including Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, and Wayne Shorter as well as Lester Young drew her more deeply into jazz. During her senior year of college, Ayumi became a featured soloist of the big band performing at well-known jazz festivals and contests such as Osaka-jo Jazz Festival (Osaka ’03) and Yamano Big Band Jazz Contest (Tokyo ’03).
In 2007, Ayumi received a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She spent three years there studying performance and composing. At Berklee, she studied with Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Hal Crook, Ed Tomassi, and Frank Tiberi who among others have been her biggest influences.
After graduating from Berklee in 2010, Ayumi moved to New York where she immediately found herself immersed in the jazz scene. She began to place herself in jam sessions at New York’s hot jazz spots, playing with some of the leading jazz musicians including Roy Hargrove, Ambrose Akinmusire, Wes Anderson, and Greg Osby just to name a few. Shortly afterward, Ayumi joined the Matthew Albeck Group, which expanded her musical interests to many other styles. Albeck’s compositions were based on jazz. However, they were strongly influenced by rock, African music, and funk, which catapulted Ayumi’s performance abilities into another level. She recorded an album with Albeck in 2011 and performed with the group at numerous popular venues in Brooklyn.