Chihiro Yamanaka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Chihiro Yamanaka
Yamanaka, 2010
Yamanaka, 2010
Background information
BornKiryū, Gunma, Japan
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Instrument(s)Piano, keyboards
LabelsVerve, Atelier Sawano

Chihiro Yamanaka (山中千尋, Yamanaka Chihiro) is a Japanese jazz pianist and composer, born in Kiryū, Gunma Prefecture.[1] As of 2012, she was based in New York City.[2] She has had more than a dozen albums as a leader, most of them being released by Verve Records.


Chihiro Yamanaka Trio Gunma Concert 2010

Yamanaka studied at the Berklee College of Music[3] and is an alumna of the Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead residency program.[4] She has played and recorded with the New York-based DIVA Jazz Orchestra, led by Sherrie Maricle, but is best known for her small group recordings, which are typically trios and have featured bassists such as Larry Grenadier and Robert Hurst, and drummers such as Jeff Ballard and Jeff "Tain" Watts.[1][5]

Yamanaka has toured in Europe, the United States and Japan, and has played at several festivals, including the Umbria Jazz Festival in 2011 (a performance described by the Jazz Times' reviewer as "The biggest surprise of the night [...] Right and left, jaws were dropping",[6] and the Bologna Jazz Festival[7] and Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival the following year. In 2011 and 2012 Yamanaka played Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with symphony orchestras in Japan.[4][8]

Yamanaka has more than a dozen recordings released under her own name, principally on the Verve label,[9][10] most of which have been released internationally,[1] and which include a DVD of her playing at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York.[11] Two of her recent releases, Forever Begins (2010) and Reminiscence (2011), were given four-star ratings by AllMusic reviewers,[12][13] the review of the latter concluding with, "Yamanaka is a fierce talent with robust chops, plenty of soul, and a seemingly endless imagination for the musical possibilities of the piano trio".

Yamanaka is one of the 'Frontier Ambassadors' for Kōriyama City.[14]

Playing style[edit]

John Fordham commented in 2016 that Yamanaka played, in the nature of Oscar Peterson, "straightahead classic jazz with the kind of showboating virtuosity that makes listeners doubt their senses".[15] "Like Peterson, Yamanaka favours opening a song at a quiet, lounge-jazz sway and winding it up to a sprint just as listeners are settling back in their chairs."[15]


As leader[edit]

Year Title Label
2001 Living Without Friday Atelier Sawano
2002 When October Goes Atelier Sawano
2003 Leaning Forward (DVD) Atelier Sawano
2004 Madrigal Atelier Sawano
2005 Outside by the Swing Verve
2006 Lach Doch Mal Verve
2007 Abyss Verve
2007 Live in Tokyo (DVD) Verve
2008 After Hours Verve
2008 Bravogue Verve
2009 Runnin' Wild – Tribute to Benny Goodman Verve
2010 Forever Begins Verve
2011 Reminiscence Verve
2011 Live in New York (DVD) Verve
2012 Still Working Universal
2012 Because Verve
2012 After Hours 2 Verve
2013 Molto Cantabile Verve
2014 Somethin' Blue Blue Note
2014 Live at Blue Note Tokyo (DVD) BLUE NOTE/Universal
2015 Best 2005-2015 BLUE NOTE/Universal
2015 The SPHÈRES: Live in OSAKA!! BLUE NOTE/Universal
2016 Guilty Pleasure Verve
2017 Monk Studies BLUE NOTE/Universal
2018 Utopia BLUE NOTE/Universal
2019 Prima del Tramonto BLUE NOTE/Universal


With Sherrie Maricle & The Diva Jazz Orchestra

  • 2005: A Tommy Newsom Tribute (Lightyear)

With Marlene VerPlanck

  • 2004: It's How You Play the Game (Audiophile)


  1. ^ a b c "Chihiro Yamanaka Biography" AllMusic
  2. ^ Jarenwattananon, Patrick (October 18, 2012) "Chihiro Yamanaka Trio: Live at Berklee" npr music.
  3. ^ "Chihiro Yamanaka Clinic" Berklee College of Music Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival" The Kennedy Center Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  5. ^ Anon. In Outside by the Swing [CD Booklet]. Verve.
  6. ^ Russonello, Giovanni (July 12, 2011) "Umbria Jazz 2011" Jazz Times.
  7. ^ "Chihiro Yamanaka Trio" Bologna Jazz Festival
  8. ^ "Chihiro Yamanaka" Scott Foster Management Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  9. ^ "Chihiro Yamanaka Discography" Universal Music Japan Retrieved February 16, 2013
  10. ^ "Chihiro Yamanaka Discography" Universal Music Japan Retrieved February 16, 2013
  11. ^ "Chihiro Yamanaka Trio - CD Release Concert" Iridium Archived 2012-07-12 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  12. ^ Ruhlmann, William "Chihiro Yamanaka - Forever Begins" AllMusic review
  13. ^ Jurek, Thom "Chihiro Yamanaka - Reminiscence" AllMusic review
  14. ^ "フロンティア大使のプロフィール等|郡山市公式ウェブサイト". (in Japanese). Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Fordham, John (April 13, 2016) "Chihiro Yamanaka Review – Effortless Virtuosity and Warmth". The Guardian.

External links[edit]