Tonooka [Morris], Sumi
- Gary W. Kennedy
(b Philadelphia, Oct 3, 1956). Pianist. Her father was African American and her mother Japanese American, and she later took her mother’s maiden name as a stage name. She left high school at the age of 15 and moved to Boston, where she had lessons with Margaret Chaloff and Charlie Banacos. In 1973 she lived in Connecticut and then Detroit, where she studied and performed with Marcus Belgrave. Having returned to Philadelphia (1974) she studied at the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts and received private tuition from Bernard Peiffer, Mary Lou Williams, Stanley Cowell, and Dennis Sandole; she performed in local clubs and worked with various musicians, including Odean Pope and Philly Joe Jones. In 1983 she moved to New York and attended the New School for Social Research and performed as an unaccompanied soloist at a SoHo supper club in Green Street. She made her first recording as a leader in ...