Jazz Profiles: Toshiko Akiyoshi

Sunday, August 9, 2015 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm

This Sunday's edition of Jazz Profiles will feature Japanese composer and arranger, Toshiko Akiyoshi, a 14 time Grammy nominee. Born in 1929, Akiyoshi became interested in the piano at age six; by the time her family had moved back to Japan at the end of World War II, having emigrated to China before Toshiko was born, she had developed a real love for music. She soon began playing piano professionally, which eventually led to her discovery by pianist Oscar Peterson in 1952 during a Norman Granz Jazz at the Philharmonic tour of Japan. On Peterson's recommendation, Toshiko recorded for Granz, and not long after, she went to the U.S. to study at the Berklee School of Music in Boston on a full scholarship, as the first Japanese student at the prestegious conservatory. After playing in New York as a Berkleee graduate, Akiyoshi moved to Los Angeles in 1972 where she formed what would become a world renowned ensemble, the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, featuring her second husband, flutist and saxophonist Lew Tabackin. She went on to become the first woman to win Downbeat's acclaimed Best Composer and Best Arranger awards several times each throughout the 80s and 90s. Hear her music on Sunday, 8/9 on WKCR.