Born: August 9, 1973
Deemed the queen of chamber jazz by All About Jazz, the violinist-composer Meg Okura blends East and West in modern jazz. Okura dares to combine erhu (Chinese violin) with the harp, bass clarinet, flutes and the soprano saxophone in her Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, a one-of-a-kind jazz group based in Harlem. The ensemble has released four albums- Meg Okura’s Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble (2006), Naima (2010), and Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto (2013), and the Ima Ima (feat. Tom Harrell in 2018). From Lincoln Center to Levitt Pavillion in Los Angeles, Winter Jazz Fest to KL Jazz Festival in Malaysia, Knitting Factory to sold-out concerts in Japan, the PACJE has captivated audiences at home and abroad for over ten years.
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There are some stunning moments on this set from the NPO Trio of violinist Meg Okura, saxophonist Sam Newsome, and pianist Jean-Michel Pilc. Their music is a balancing act between cohesion and chaos, allowing the music to fall into one of those states while still grasping tight to its counterpart. This sense of everything coming apart at the seams creates the most intoxicating tension as the balance of power shifts back and forth. The intensity is magnified by corresponding changes in influence, from avant-garde to classical to Yiddish to modern post-bop. Recorded at NYC’s The Stone back in 2016, the electricity of the live performance comes through strong, and the presence of this music is immense. (Dave Sumner)
All About Jazz
“From Asia to Africa and the Americas, and from classical to jazz—via the inspiration of electronic music—Okura sees beauty everywhere and translates it into her own exquisite idiom.” (Ian Patterson)
New York Times
New York City
Willing to teach
Meg Okura has conducted clinics and lecture concert programs for the past three years, creating unforgettable memories for over 10,000 students of all ages across the United States.
“Jazz Violin and Improvisation Workshop”
A program for students of all levels to learn the secrets of improvisation. The program will de-mystify the process of improvising by showing the basic methods for improvising, while students having a ton of fun