Japanese native, TAEKO moved to New York City from Shiga, Japan in the late 90’s and quickly garnered the nickname “Songbird” from the NYC Jazz elite. With a stunning four octave range, she sings with “deep soulfulness reminiscent of Anita Baker with sophisticated scatting a la Ella” as Jazz critics describe.
With a never ending stream of musical ideas and a fluid delivery that shows years of dedication in studying her craft, little is left to doubt how TAEKO has built a dedicated fan base in both the U.S. and overseas. Growing up in Japan, she was inspired early on by the traditional Japanese music her father and grandfather sang, and has been singing as long as she can remember. TAEKO 's interest in American music was piqued while still a young child. In her formative musical years she counts traditional Jazz, modern American music, and Eastern music among her influences in shaping her contemporary vocal style to this day.
“In the early stages of my jazz studies I immersed myself in not only the great vocalists but instrumentalist as well.” said TAEKO. “The one thing that I caught early on was that each had their own individual style. While they could and sometimes, did mimic others in paying tribute through a solo or performance – for all of those masters you could always tell who they were. That’s what I’ve focused on for all of these years, developing my voice, and finding my own place in the musical landscape.”
TAEKO has perfected her craft over the last few years as she has graced the stages of some of the most heralded Jazz clubs on the East Coast, including, Birdland, the Smalls Jazz Club, The Kitano, the Zinc Bar, the Minton’s Playhouse, and the Blue Note. Additionally, she has been featured at such prominent U.S. festivals as the Cape May Jazz Festival, the Women in Jazz Festival in New York City, the United Philadelphia Jazz Festival, the North East Florida Jazz Festival, and Newburgh Jazz Series, in addition to her performances at numerous Jazz festivals in Japan. TAEKO was also a finalist in the 2008 NYC JazzMobile Jazz Vocal Competition. TAEKO has sung the American National Anthem at the annual Japan Run in the Central Park in New York City since 2011.
In 2007, TAEKO released her debut album "One Love" (Flat Nine Records) which caught high attention from Jazz critics and listeners in the US and Japan. TAEKO released her second album “VOICE" (Flat Nine Records) in 2010 which demonstrated her love for both Traditional and Modern Jazz as well as for her native country. The album features songs by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Duke Ellington, Sly and the Family Stone, Marvin Gay, TAEKO herself, and two Japanese compositions ("Biwako" and "Soshu-Yakyoku") with her own interpretations. TAEKO released critically-acclaimed third album in the US “Wonderland” (Flat Nine Records), which features a “who’s who” of Jazz heavy hitters such as Doug Carn, Lonnie Plaxico, and Victor Jones. In 2014, DJ Lamon Fenner of WHCR Radio The Voice of Harlem, the host of a long-running Jazz program "Lamon's Jazz at Eight," dedicated his entire 2-hour program for the songs from TAEKO's three albums. In 2016 TAEKO debuted at the historic Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. In 2018, TAEKO was featured to sing the American and Japanese National Anthems at the 30th Annual ECOFEST in Times Square, New York City. TAEKO recorded a commercial song "Hokey Pokey" in Japanese for Apple Watch Series 4, and the commercial was aired in Japan since October 2018 for several months. The commercial on YouTube recorded 2 million views within a month from the release. TAEKO's 4th album is to be released in summer 2019.
WONDERLAND (2013/Flat Nine Records), TAEKO's third release in the US as a leader, is an electrifying collaboration with jazz geniuses such as legendary Doug Carn who released excellent series of albums from Black Jazz Label in 1970's and veteran drummer Victor Jones who's best-known for his work with Chaka Khan, Phyllis Hyman, and Dizzy Gillespie. Produced by renowned Jazz DJ at Sirius XM Radio, Mark Ruffin.
VOICE (2010/Flat Nine Records), TAEKO's second release in the US, is a vibrant patchwork of styles that reveals the passion with which she has explored the range of the jazz idiom. It's a showcase of intense study and her versatility which is wisely described "that the overall effect is sometimes like being strafed by a benign scattergun loaded with different styles. All of which makes the album's title more appropriate" http://cry-me-a-torch-song.com/
ONE LOVE (2007/Flat Nine Records) introduces this young star of brilliant ideas and impeccable executions. “Taeko has remarkable range and vocal command, able to manipulate normal notes into tapestries of sound. She tempers deep soulfulness reminiscent of Anita Baker with sophisticated scatting a la Ella Fitzgerald. The combination is a treat and never feels forced” http://blogcritics.com
Juanita Fleming – Gospel and Jazz Singer, Actress, Voice Trainer, Marion Cowings - Jazz Singer, Lyricist, Actor, the first disciple of Jon Hendricks, Barry Harris - Legendary Jazz Pianist, Jazz Educator Media
Sirius XM Satellite Radio (New York, NY) WHCR FM (New York, NY), WRTI FM (Philadelphia, PA) WICN FM (Boston, MA), WWUH (Hartford, CT) Manhattan Cable Network (New York, NY), New York Post (New York) Japion, Weekly NY Seikatsu, Yomi Time
TV Kanagawa, NHK Otsu, Radio Kansai, e. raido FM Shiga, KBS Kyoto Radio, Kyoto Shinbun
Blue Note New York, New York City, Yoshi’s San Francisco, CA Cape May Jazz Festival, NJ, North East Florida Jazz Festival, FL United Philadelphia Jazz Festival, PA, Japan Day at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, NY Monday Night Concert at Bushnell Park, Hartford, CT, Chickenbone Beach Jazz Series, Atlantic City, NJ Gainesville Florida Friends of Jazz Concert, Gainsville, FL Women in Jazz Festival/ by International Women in Jazz, Inc, New York City The Nighttown. Cleveland, OH, The Kitano, New York CIty, Zinc Bar, New York City …to name a few
Biwako Jazz Festival, Shiga, Japan, Otsu Jazz Festival, Shiga, Japan Okazaki Jazz Street, Aichi, Akiba Tokyo TUC, Shinjuku J, Tokyo Satin Doll, Tokyo, Satin Doll, Kobe, Mister Kelly’s, Osaka, Start Eyes, Nagoya, Riverside, Fukuoka Watch
TAEKO’s official Video from Live in New York July 24, 2013 To see all Taeko's performance video, click here.