Since moving to the United States in 1995, Eri Yamamoto has established herself as one of jazz's most
original and compelling pianists and composers. Jazz legend Herbie Hancock has said, “My hat's off to her... already she's found her own voice.”
Eri's tenth leader album, life, that is a generous new collection of unique songs, performed with her longstanding trio partners, bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi. As the album title suggest, the music portrays a wide range of her experiences- from joyful to introspective, reflecting the vibrancy of New York City and exploring mysteries of nature and memory. The Eri Yamamoto Trio has developed a unique sound and repertoire, and has built a loyal following in New York and abroad. They have toured the U. S., Canada, Australia, Europe, and Japan, with appearances at major festivals.
Eri has also developed a personal voice as a solo pianist, and has moved audiences with her renditions of her own compositions and her spontaneous improvisations.
Eri was born in Osaka, Japan, and began playing classical piano at age three. She started composing when only eight years old, and studied voice, viola, and composition through her high school and college years. In 1995, she visited New York for the first time, and by chance heard Tommy Flanagan performing. She was so
inspired by her first experience of a jazz piano trio that she decided on the spot to move to New York and dedicate herself to learning jazz. Later that year, Eri entered the New School University's prestigious jazz program, where she studied with Reggie Workman, Junior Mance, and LeeAnn Ledgerwood. In 1999, while still in school, she started playing regularly at the Avenue B Social Club, a popular spot among jazz musicians in the East Village. There she developed a musical friendship with fellow pianist Matthew Shipp.
Since 2000, Eri's trio has been appearing regularly at Arthur's Tavern, a historic jazz club in New York's Greenwich Village.
Eri has also been collaborating with such creative and celebrated musicians as William Parker, Daniel Carter, Hamid Drake, Federico Ughi, Yves Leveille and Paul McCandless. Eri has appeared on five William Parker recordings, and has performed in the U.S., Canada, Italy, Holland, Norway, Tunisia, Portugal an South Africa with his trio and sextet.
Finally, Eri is a gifted educator. She received her master of music in education and composition from Shiga University, Japan. She has taught private lessons and workshops to jazz musicians of all instruments from the U. S., Japan, Europe, and North Africa.
“My hat’s off to her. She’s found her own voice.”
-Herbie Hancock, pianist
"4-Stars. Firefly reaffirms Yamamoto's standing as a contemporary pianist of the highest order. While [she] has a deft sense of harmony and note selection, not to mention sheer chops, her virtuosity never gets in the way of playing it straight from the heart.
－Daniel A. Brown, DownBeat
"Yamamoto’s insistent rhythmic savvy [is] allied to a deep soulfulness. Bassist David Ambrosio once again demonstrates his keen melodic sensibility and propensity for surefooted commentary, while drummer Ikuo Takeuchi combines invention and drive into one elegant package."
－John Sharpe, The New York City Jazz Record
"[Her] trio has been together almost a decade and has levels of telepathy that are enviable. This is a band that consistently generates a sound of joy without falling back on many jazz cliche´s. It’s hard to imagine a jazz trio with more magic at its fingertips."
－Will Layman, PopMatters
"There are virtues in Yamamoto’s music that are rarely heard elsewhere. One is the depth of rapport with a rhythm section that has gigged with her regularly for over 13 years, making whole a steady stream of new compositions from her prolific muse. Another is Yamamoto’s ability to evoke ephemeral feelings and concepts with such precise intonation."
－Britt Robson, JazzTimes
"Eri Yamamoto, who gracefully bridges the worlds of postbop and free jazz, surveys her warm, evocative songs without words in the company of bassist Dave Ambrosio and drummer Ikuo Takeuchi on Firefly, her typically elegant and understated new full-length."
－Time Out New York