Makoto Kuriya – Samurai Jazz

Makoto Kuriya, born in Kobe, Japan. Graduated from West Virginia University with a major in linguistics. While in college, Kuriya began performing at local clubs. After graduation, he seriously started his music career as a jazz pianist and toured in the United States, performing in jazz festivals around the country and TV shows with musicians including Grammy winning Chuck Mangione and Nathan Davis, an authority on ethnomusicology. He also performed with many virtuosos such as Donald Byrd, Toots Thielmans, Janes Moody and Tom Brown, among others. He was a instructor of jazz at the University of Pittsburgh. And while in the U.S., he released his first leader album “Always Your Friend.” Back to Japan in 1990, he joined and went on tour with Terumasa Hino Group. Also with the release of an album with longtime friends such as Marvin Smith, James Genus and Gary Thomas, he started his solo career.

To date, Kuriya has released 14 leader albums. In 1998, his performing the ending theme of Neo Genesis Evangelion lead to the release of a jazz compilation covering theme music for animated works and drew much attention. Kuriya has since been performing the soundtracks of Evangelion series to this date. His latest work Art for Life commemorates the 20th anniversary of his debut with a total of 27 artists showcasing the diversity of jazz and has received acclaim at home and abroad.

With his high musicality, Kuriya has gained credibility from various quarters to produce music for numerous collaborations, concerts and events. He also writes and produces songs for famous Japanese jazz artists and best-selling pop artists including Takeshi Ito and Ken Hirai as well as many jingles, TV show theme tunes and film scores. Recent years, he’s been active in discovering and fostering young talents by, for instance, organizing YouTube based Ad-Lib Competition.

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