Kuriko Tsugawa (Bassist, Composer) Born in Tokyo (Japan) Kuriko Tsugawa started playing bass at the age of fifteen. Soon after she joined what would become her first jazz ensemble experience, the Tomisato High School big band, affectionately known as “The Mad Hatters”. As a member of “The Mad Hatters”, she had the opportunity to perform at major festivals throughout Japan. Recognition was waiting around the corner, and it was in 1999 that she and her bandmates won the first prize from the Student Jazz Festival that is held every year by Japan Association For Jazz Education. For three consecutive years Kuriko’s “Mad Hatters” shared bill with visiting artist Monterey High School Big Band in an annual festival held in Tomisato, Japan. This enriching annual encounters were the spark that ignited Kuriko´s passionate decision to pursue jazz music in the United States as a career.
In 2001, she auditioned for Berklee College of Music and won a scholarship to attend the college starting in 2002. She was now one step closer to her dream. Since her arrival in Boston she had the opportunity to study with renowned jazz educators like Hal Crook, Dave Santoro, John Lockwood, Ron Mahdi and the late Herb Pomeroy, and she played with jazz legends like Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Delfeayo Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Yellow Jackets founder Russ Ferrante, Makoto Ozone and Danilo Perez. Besides her many inspiring mentors Kuriko found in Boston a vibrant generation of like-minded young musicians who have been as crucial for her development as any of her professors. Her time in Boston paid off, and her quick improvements lead to a really busy performing schedule. Besides such Boston musts as Wally’s Jazz Café and Ryles Jazz Club Kuriko performed in a variety of festivals around the New England area and in 2006 was selected as a member of a quartet representing Berklee in Lucca Jazz Donna Festival in Italy. 2006 was also the year that marked the end of Kuriko’s Bostonian era and saw the beginning of a new one that which came with the inevitable move to New York City. Within weeks of arriving in New York she was fortunate enough to land a steady gig in The Algonquin Hotel in Times Square. Since then she has gotten increasingly active in the fervent New York jazz scene such as Cleopatra’s Needle, Smalls, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Fat Cat, Londel’s Supper Club and many more. And she keeps evolving day by day with the confidence and passion which comes from making one’s dreams come true… She is currently working as a member of Walter Blanding Group, Anthony Wonsey Quintet and Daisuke Abe Trio. Also worked with Mike LeDonne, Rodney Green, Warren Wolf, Tia Fuller, Marcus Printup, Lee Pearson and many more.