'WISH BOARD' CD Reviews

"...Tanaka infuses all of her music with a distinctive legato touch, relaxed but poised, light but assertive, suggesting that rather than trying to impress her audience with pyrotechnics she is playing for her sheer joy."
by Tom Greenland, p16, MARCH 2017, THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD.


(English translation) "... After digesting the tradition of jazz music, she expresses her well-established original music with her own voice and by the interplay between remarkable support of Willie Jones III and Corcoran Holt."
by Seki, p22, September 2016 Issue No.90, WAY OUT WEST, Japan.


(English translation) "This is the second album of Katsuko Tanaka, who had studied with Brad Melhdau et. al. and acquired professional skills and musicianship in the genuine jazz scene in the world."
2016 September Issue No. 193, JAZZ HIHYO, Japan.


(English translation) "... Her original song on Track 9 [Have Peace In Your Heart] is one of the master piece which I would hope to listen to with lyrics."
by Hiroshi Ozawa, 89, October 2016, JAZZ LIFE, Japan.


(English translation) "All of the original songs are based on her experience and have emotional connection to living and working in New York for the last nine years. ...Melancholic mood of her piano touch on If Your Could See Me Now is very tasteful."
by Masayuki Koito, p15, 2016 Vol. 46, THE WALKER’S, Japan.


More English translations coming soon!!!


- Quotes -

" ... Her music is individual and her voice is being recognized among the many who come here [the very competitive New York] to seek their dream in the United States." - by Michael Philip Mossman

"... She has really worked hard to embrace the American approach to playing Jazz, which is not easy to do." - by Antonio Hart

" ... With considerable technique and perfect pitch, her substantial musical gifts allowed her to develop quickly, finding a unique individual voice on her instrument that was quickly recognized by her peers." - by David Berkman

"Ms. Tanaka is a pianist and composer ...with a style that reveals a deep-rooted understanding of jazz coupled with an elegant aesthetic that is indicative of the new contemporary mainstream. ... Her CD is ...notable for its lyricism and quiet confidence." - by Kei Akagi



Debut Album 'BEYOND INTERSECTION' CD Reviews, English Translation

"Now, or right now!! I devote the hundred percent of my life into Jazz everyday now!" - August 2008, Katsuko Tanaka's weblog

This is the first leader album of a pianist Katsuko Tanaka, who has tremendous overflowing passion and strong positive spirit, and performs the foremost place of the jazz world, New York City.

The members in the band are comprised of her friends from Los Angels where she spent her time in the nineteens: Danton Boller on bass, Willie Jones III on drums; and Antonio Hart on alto saxophone as a guest on one track. What a gorgeous musicians! Surprisingly, the trio had played together one time only at a live performance, without a rehearsal, before entering the recording studio. As a quartet with Antonio, they recorded only two takes of the song, and that's it. Running through the song one time at the recording studio was the first and the last time four of them rehearsed together. Danton and Willie have been her friends since she had not be able to speak English; and Antonio is a professor at the Queens College where she acquired her M.A. from. Everyone feels comfortable with each other and shares the same concept, so that it sounds as a regular working band performing together."
on HMV, TOWER RECORDS, AMAZON, and DISK UNION, Japan.


"This is the self-produced leader album of a New York based jazz pianist, Katsuko Tanaka. Having Danton Boller on bass, Willie Jones III on drums with Antonio Hart on alto saxophone as a guest musician, she brings us fresh vibe from New York and presents sensational performance on this album, which features her five original songs. Her lively piano performance style with her strong left hand riff backed up with the hardest swinging rhythm section, on the first track Dawn immediately draws us into her music. Her wide varieties of ideas follow after: for instance, Stretching, which Antonio Hart plays on, attracts us with dynamic sound and speed; and her improvisation on Beyond Intersection, written in 5 meters, is luscious. In addition, her playful performance on a standard song It Could Happen To You is sweet, and reaches to our heart. The distinctive exceptional talent has risen here: An outstanding album."
on JAZZ PAGE, Japan.


"This is a debut album of an Osaka native Japanese pianist Katsuko Tanaka with her trio. After she turned her direction to jazz from classical music, Katsuko had worked in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and now in New York. The album presents excellent quality of music. Its freshness and her strong spirits attract us. Her clear piano touch, both luscious and dark colors of sound, and her bitter and sweet style including deep "blues" feel can be heard. Straight ahead, tasteful, and lyrical: She has the genuine hard-bop straight ahead style as her foundation, but with full of lyricism, which develops her performance rhythmically strong. In addition, you can also hear her deep understanding of mode and funk-jazz languages as if they were her native tongue. Those languages allow her to create her very expressive, well-established, yet gentle sounds, which give us sensations. In one hand, Herbie Hancock like percussive dynamic approach, reflective mood of expressive ballad, somewhere between Hancock and McCoy Tyner-ish aggressive style with overflowing passion - the mode style serious music approach with her brilliant sense - are presented. On the other hand, more old-school style are also presented: Very tasteful and mature performance with her phrasing using bebop idioms, which swing hard, and with her singable playful phrasing. Moreover, her Evans-like mild and flexible style in romanticism and in aestheticism is luscious and deeply attractive. This album is very colorful with depth and width.
by CATFISH RECORDS, Japan.


JAZZ LIFE (August 2010 Issue)
(Translation Coming Soon!)

JAZZ HIHYO (Jazz Critique)" (No. 573 Issue)
(Translation Coming Soon!)



Japanese Liner Notes for Katsuko Tanaka Trio - Beyond Intersection, Japanese Edition

Written by Yu Mizuno
D-Musica Records
Distribution Division at Disk Union as of June 2009


"Now, or right now!! I devote the hundred percent of my life into Jazz everyday now!" - August 2008, Katsuko Tanaka's weblog

This is the first leader album of a pianist Katsuko Tanaka, who has tremendous overflowing passion and strong positive spirit, and performs the foremost place of the jazz world, New York City.

The members in the band are comprised of her friends from Los Angeles where she spent her time in the nineteens: Danton Boller on bass, Willie Jones III on drums; and Antonio Hart on alto saxophone as a guest on one track. What a gorgeous musicians! Surprisingly, the trio had played together one time only at a live performance, without a rehearsal, before entering the recording studio. As a quartet with Antonio, they recorded only two takes of the song, and that's it. Running through the song one time at the recording studio was the first and the last time four of them rehearsed together. Danton and Willie have been her friends since she had not be able to speak English; and Antonio is a professor at the Queens College where she acquired her M.A. from. Everyone feels comfortable with each other and shares the same concept, so that it sounds as a regular working band performing together.

Founded by her western classical piano education background, Katsuko Tanaka's piano performance has natural fluidity with brilliant touch, and especially, her well-balanced chordal sense and story-telling development of improvisation are extraordinary. It definitely amuses us.

However, such technique is the reason why her music is appealing?
Of course, not.

The attractiveness of this album is HER MUSIC itself presented by her original compositions. The primary focus is not the gorgeous musicians nor a festive party of their skills. It is THE MUSIC she has been pursuing, and ultimately she expressed on here. It is comprised of her five original compositions; one standard song; and each one song from the great jazz legendary pianist, Oscar Peterson and John Hicks (both songs were performed their first time in 1964).


The first sentence of this liner notes is cited from her weblog, where you become to know her path as a jazz musician in her fresh writing style. She turned her direction from classical to jazz, focused on, has been working hard everywhere from Los Angels via Japan to New York, and has been running really fast. In the weblog, she describes about her composing as follows: "I had moved one city to another, so that I became intuitive on the first impression of a city. .... The song Dawn I often play at live performances is written in Tokyo, inspired by the image of Mejiro street in dawn. " - July 2006.

This is the birth of the energetic speedy opener of this album, Dawn. I assume the characteristic element of each song is affected by such her life style.

A quiet and spiritual conversation in a precious quality of time can be imagined from A Midnight Talk on the fourth track.

On the contrary, on the fifth song Stretching, the guest alto saxophonist Antonio Hart's performance on the edge with energy is presented, followed by Tanaka's rhythmic comp and solo; and Willie Jones III's amazing drums work - at the very beginning where he goes the exciting double time feel, his solo, and all the way until the end of the song.

The sixth track Beyond Intersection is a beautiful title track in contemporary five meters, expressing her inevitable encounters and parting experiences due to her destination of life from Los Angeles, Tokyo, Osaka, and to New York.

Not only the original compositions, the covered songs are performed excellent. The third track Wheatland written by Oscar Peterson is respectfully interpreted not only the melody but even the breathing between phrases. Her overload passion bursts on the great composition After The Morning which John Hicks recorded several times. Last of all, her sweet expression on the famous standard song It Could Happen To You closes this album.

Further, here is her interesting words which explain the engine of her creative work and life: "When back in the old days I was a classical piano player, those jazz musicians, who are expressing what they want to say in their own styles on either famous standards or on original compositions, looked to me as the group of people who are free, pleasant, and energetic. They seem to live their lives the way as they only want. Now I became a jazz musician and realized that the ratios of the followings seems equal: the speed a jazz musician gets better and the depth he or she loves music; and the maturity degree as an artist and the time he or she had spent on music." - October 2006

I assume "the time he or she had spent" is now revised as "the condensation of the time he or she had spent efforts on music" in herself.

This is Tanaka's Music of her treasury moments. This is Tanaka's matured Music, accomplished from her long time efforts and her deep love. All of them brought her this recording date accompanied with her free spirited expressions and her high energy flow.

END