Toshiko Akiyoshi, the world-renowned jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and leader of the jazz orchestra that bears her name, was on campus in February to perform with the Duke Jazz Ensemble. Akiyoshi, who is Japanese, was discovered by the pianist Oscar Peterson in 1952 and, at his urging, studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. The Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra has won numerous awards and has been nominated for fourteen Grammys.
The jazz critic Leonard Feather called Akiyoshi's band "one of the outstanding orchestras of our time."
Among the highpoints of the evening was a performance of her composition, "Repose," featuring a solo by tenor saxophonist Eric Getty, a divinity-school student. The Duke Jazz Ensemble comprises nineteen musicians, all but three of whom are undergraduates.
An Ear for Jazz
March 31, 2006