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Jazz pianist and composer Ayako Shirasaki, a frequent finalist in major U.S. jazz piano competitions, has been sharing her dramatic improvisational approach with listeners worldwide for the past 10 years. The German Jazz Magazine Jazzthetik had this to say about her 2009 tour: World class. Jazz improvisation at the highest level. Marc Myers of JazzWax.com recently raved: "Listening to Ayako's new and 4th CD Falling Leaves Live in Hamburg (release date 7th Sept. 2010) you will quickly notice that Ayako has been most strongly influenced by bebop dynamos Bud Powell and Tommy Flanagan. But she also favors the hypersensitive Bill Evans and robust Phineas Newborn Jr."
Recognized in her native Japan as a jazz prodigy (in the 5th grade she was already transcribing Bud Powell solos), Ayako Shirasaki has won many major prizes, including the prestigious Grand Prize at the Asakusa Jazz Competition. Ayako's professional career began at the tender age of 12, when she began appearing regularly at the J jazz club in Tokyo. Her extraordinary talent was soon recognized by the jazz media, and she was featured in Japan's leading jazz magazine Swing Journal. Ayako, who now lives in New York, has performed at the Blue Note, Birdland, Dizzys Jazz Club etc.
Shes awfully good: rhapsodic when the material demands but still quite capable of swinging with Powellish drive. - Paul Blair, Hot House Jazz Magazine