ITOH Kimiko 1987

Born In Shodoshima, Japan, Kimiko always enjoyed music as a child, but pursued a career in the visual arts. After graduating from the Musachino Fine Arts University in Tokyo, she became a film animator. When the film company she worked for dissolved, it was the president of the company that persuaded her to audition as a singer. She was soon being scouted by record labels and made her debut as a pop and traditional Enka singer. After several releases, she still had not garnered any hits, but her real interest in jazz was discovered.
After studying English pronunciation and jazz vocal technique, she appeared on the Tokyo Jazz circuit and later in jazz festivals.

In 1983, fifteen years after her pop debut she released her first jazz album "Birdland".
 She spent most of 1985 in New York, appearing in clubs such as The Blue Note and Sutton's in Harlem, where she encountered enthusiastic audiences. She then returned to Japan to perform and tour with Terumasa Hino.
 In 1986, she released "A Touch of Love". Backed by first rate studio musicians such as Masahiko Sato, Terumasa Hino, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez and Michael Brecker, the release further strengthened her reputation as a world-class jazz singer. In support, the album was released in Australia in an effort to reach overseas markets. That same year, she was awarded the Grand Prix of Japan for Jazz Vocals.
 Her next project "For Lovers Only", was released in 1987. The album reached audiences worldwide, including Korea, traditionally not a market for Japanese artists. In 1989, she released "Follow Me".
 She then appeared in 1988 at "East Meets West", a cultural exchange performance series at Indigo Blues in New York. Then she began her long 5 years reign as Swing Journal's n°1 Female Jazz Vocalist.

Prior to the release in 1990 of "A Natural Woman", she performed throughout Japan with Steve Gadd, Richard Tee, Rony Buba and others where she further established her popularity. In a Tokyo performance in support of the album, jazz legend Nancy Wilson joined her on stage for a spontaneous performance.
 That performance led to recording a duet with Wilson on the Christmas album "A Jazzy Wonderland", released in late 1990. As she continued to tour, her last project on was released in 1992 "The Best of Kimiko" featured past hits from earlier releases. Itoh then moved to One Voice Records in 1992, and has subsequently recorded four releases for the label: "Here I Am", "Standards My Way", "An Evening With Kimiko Itoh" and now, "Sophisticated Lady".

A beautiful record...

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