Just in Case you missed it… “ANNIVERSARY” the debut album on Greenleaf Music by Japanesee vocalist Emi Makabe

Emi Makabe, ANNIVERSARY (RELEASED: October 30, 2020)

The intimate, alluring art of singer-composer and instrumentalist Emi Makabe is utterly individual, even as it resonates with inspirations ranging from Joni Mitchell and Theo Bleckmann to Japanese folk music and jazz improvisation. Born and raised in Japan but a decade-plus resident of New York, Makabe studied with the likes of Bleckmann, Jen Shyu, and Judith Berkson, and she has become a presence on the city’s creative music scene, performing at the 55 Bar, Rockwood Music Hall, Shapeshifter Lab, St. Peter’s Church, and the bygone Cornelia Street Café. She has also ventured to Europe, singing and playing her Japanese shamisen (a banjo-like instrument) in a duo with her husband, bassist Thomas Morgan, at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Now, she presents her debut album: Anniversary, to be released via Greenleaf Music on October 30, 2020Anniversary features Emi on vocals and shamisen alongside a trio of New York jazz virtuosos: Morgan on bass, Vitor Gonçalves on piano/accordion, and Kenny Wollesen on drums/vibraphone. The album presents Emi’s original songs – sung in English, Japanese and wordless vocalese – in airy, artful arrangements, with improvisation naturally part of the mix. Time Out New York has praised Emi’s music as imaginative,” while New York Music Daily calls it rapturous, adventurous.”

Anniversary has a subtly evocative yet unmistakably emotional undertow, one informed by romantic partnership as well as the new friends and missed family of the immigrant experience. “The title Anniversary has two meanings,” Emi explains. “I wrote the title song for my partner, Thomas, on our anniversary day, and it became a significant song for me. The album was also recorded just after the 10th anniversary of my move to New York from Japan, and its music was made in the context of my experience here with the musicians and people who support and inspire me. With deep appreciation, I dedicate this album to my parents and all of my family, friends and mentors.

Emi grew up singing and playing multiple instruments, learning the Japanese folk styles of nagauta and minyo from her mother. The young musician was also drawn to The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday. A revelation upon moving to New York was the jazz individualism of Betty Carter, “who opened up my mind to the possibilities of improvisation,” she says. In addition to the influence of Bleckmann’s lithe vocalism, Emi was also inspired by the vocalese of Meredith Monk and, later, Armenian-American singer Areni Agbabian. “I like using my voice as an instrument,” Emi says. “The melodies and syllables of Japanese folk music come out naturally, even subconsciously in my music.” ~Fully Altered Media

At your leisure, checkout ANNIVERARY featuring the imaginative vocalese of Emi Makabe

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