Akiyoshi, Toshiko (jazz) [Mariano, Toshiko]
- J. Bradford Robinson
- and Barry Kernfeld
(bDairen, China, Dec 12, 1929). Americancomposer, pianist, and bandleader. She was born to Japanese parents in Manchuria less than two years before Japan wrested control of the region from China. She remained in Manchuria until 1946, when the family was expelled to Japan, and took classical piano lessons from the age of seven. While working in Japanese dance orchestras and tango bands, she suddenly turned to jazz after hearing recordings by Teddy Wilson. She was discovered by visiting American jazz musicians, among them Oscar Peterson, who persuaded Norman Granz to record her and urged her to take up a career in the USA. However, she remained in Japan, where she led a bop quartet which included Sadao Watanabe, until she was awarded a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. A few months after enrolling in ...