Miki Yamanaka is a NY based pianist, and composer from Japan. She started playing the piano at the age of 5, became interested in Jazz when she started playing in the junior high school big band. She moved to NY to study English and music in 2012. She has studied piano and music theory with Jason Lindner, Jeb Patton, and David Berkman. In March 2015, she was chosen as one of the three pianists after a competitive audition for attending two weeks residency of "Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead" at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. She graduated from Queens College, and got the Masters degree of Music Performance in December 2015. She has shared the stage with lots of significant musicians such as Jerry Dodgion, Philip Harper, Winard Harper, Antonio Hart, Frank Lacy, David Wong, Gerald Cannon, and many more. She performs at some of NY finest jazz venues such as Smalls, Mezzrow, Fat Cat, Showman's, and Dizzy's Club Coca Cola. She is a current pianist of Philip Harper Quintet.
Hailed by Jazz Times magazine for his "great dexterity," and cited by critic Thomas Conrad for his musicality, New York bassist and composer Edward Perez is sought by fellow musicians for his creativity and experience in a great diversity of musical styles. Perez's bass lines have been the choice of a stunning array of bandleaders including jazz vocal legend Mark Murphy, latin-jazz Grammy nominees HectorMartignon and Jane Bunnett, Colombian singer Lucia Pulido, trumpet virtuoso Joe Burgstaller of the Canadian Brass, and a host of modern jazz musicians including Martin Bejerano, Benito Gonzalez, Jason Palmer, Anat Cohen, Francisco Mela, and Gilad Hekselman.
Perez's unique sound as a composer traces back to the combination of his grounding in modern jazz and straight ahead combined with insight on percussion and traditional afro-latin music gleaned from his two years in Lima as well as his experience with latin jazz heavyweights of New York City. His second latest release, The Year of Two Summers, features his own compositions as played by Eli Degibri, Misha Piatigorsky, Willard Dyson, Arturo Stable, and guests Sofia Koutsovitis and Morris Cañate. Perez also directs Alcatraz, an afro-Peruvian band that has released a self-titled album and has performed throughout the northeastern US.
As a sideman and bassist, Perez has performed in virtually all of New York's most venerated jazz venues, including the Blue Note, Lincoln Center, Jazz Standard, Iridium, Dizzy's, Jazz Gallery, Zinc Bar, Smalls, Smoke, Fat Cat, Tonic, 55 Bar, and Nuyorican Poets Café. He has toured throughout Europe, South America, and Japan, including appearances in major jazz festivals such as Vitoria, Moers, and Palau de la Musica (Valencia), as well as world music festivals such as Stimmen and Rudolstadt. In addition to the aforementioned bandleaders, Perez has shared the stage or recorded with such jazz luminaries as Lee Konitz, Seamus Blake, Mark Turner, Kenny Werner, Phil Woods, Lionel Loueke, and Perico Sambeat.
Born in Grand Rapids, MI, Jay Sawyer has studied jazz drumming with several outstanding and well-respected jazz artists. Among them, the great Billy Hart, Tim Froncek, Keith Hall and Dana Hall. Each nurtured his passion and skill for the art of jazz percussion. As a student at Western Michigan University, Jay performed with the well-known WMU Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Nonet under the direction of Professors Trent Kynaston and Scott Cowan. These groups toured extensively and participated in several well-known jazz festivals that include the Notre Dame, Elmhurst and Detroit Jazz Festivals. Jay continued his studies as Graduate Assistant to Dana Hall while at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There he got work with such artists as Chip McNeill, Chip Stephens, Jim Pugh, Tito Carillo, Glenn Wilson, Ron Bridgewater, Dana Hall and many others. Jay received his Bachelors of Music from Western Michigan University and his Masters of Music from The University of Illinois. He has performed or shared the stage with artists such as Stefon Harris, Donny McCaslin and many others. He has also performed at the Detroit and Chicago Jazz Festivals as well as many other prominent venues around the USA. Jay currently resides in New York City.