Composer, Arranger, Conductor and Pianist
Tokyo born composer Miho Hazama is one of New York's most astounding young talents. Lauded in "DownBeat" magazine as one of "25 for the Future", Miho is quickly establishing herself as a force of nature on the world stage. As the 2015 recipient of the BMI Charlie Parker Composition Prize, Miho is no stranger to the jazz spotlight, and is consistently producing music of the highest order with musicians of a commensurate ilk. Miho's music obscures the boundaries of genre and form, painting a magical landscape for the performers to create and the audience to get lost in. Her riveting performances to packed adoring audience at venues such as the Jazz Standard, Blue Note NYC and Tokyo, Joe's Pub, the Jazz Gallery, and Symphony Space show the world that Miho is here to stay.
With her masterful understanding of harmony and orchestration, Miho developed her signature ensemble "m_unit", utilizing a veritable who's who of young innovators hailing from all over the world. Now having 2 full length releases on Universal Music Japan / Sunnyside Records, Miho has written for and expertly showcased the abilities of guest artists such as Joshua Redman, Stefon Harris, Steve Wilson, and Gil Goldstein, to name a few. Furthermore, each album was carefully overseen by Miho's musical mentor and jazz composition powerhouse, Jim McNeely. Critics and music fans alike have praised the recordings, and Miho has been featured in such influential publications as DownBeat, JazzTimes, NPR, and Jazz Japan.
Photo: SHITOMICHI (vale.)
Upon reviewing 2012 debut recording "Journey to Journey", JazzTimes describes m_unit as a "...classy large ensemble that keeps the listener guessing and enchanted...something is always lurking and ready to pounce; then skitter away again." Jazz Japan named this exhilarating project "Album of the Year". After the release of m_unit's sophomore recording "Time River", All About Jazz had this to say: "At a time when orchestral jazz is either ultra-polished, exceedingly high brow, or a pedestrian pandering to sentimental tastes of yore, Hazama's boldly organic and singularly exciting collective is a breath of fresh air. Her uncanny ability to remain intellectually stimulating and vibrantly spirited is what makes her work singularly innovative." m_unit continues to drive towards the future with a scrappy determination and aesthetic that is both beautiful and undeniably sincere.
As the winner of the 24th Idemitsu Music Award, Miho began her career as an orchestrator and arranger for legendary free jazz pianist Yosuke Yamashita in 2007. She has worked alongside Vince Mendoza, Jim McNeely, Jon Hendricks, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Shiro Sagisu, to name a few. She has arranged and orchestrated for many ensembles for concerts, recordings, television and film, including Metropole Orkest, New York Jazzharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Siena Wind Orchestra, Yamaha Symphonic Band, and many, many more.
Composition is her true calling, and in addition to her effort with m_unit, she has created works for many different musical contexts. Most notably, she has composed for the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra with pianist Yosuke Yamashita, the New York Jazzharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, and the Salina Symphony. She is also the Associate Artistic Director of the New York Jazzharmonic, Guest Conductor of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, Conductor of the "D.O.M.E. Experiment" by Mimi Jones and ArcoIris Sandoval, and organizes the "Jazz Composers Showcase" at the Jazz Gallery in NYC.
Miho's awards and honors include the Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize (2015), the 24th Idemitsu Music Award (2014), ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award (2011), and she was a Scholarship Recipient of the Manhattan School of Music (2010). She has a degree in classical composition from the Kunitachi College of Music, and a master degree in jazz composition from the Manhattan School of Music, and was honored by the Scholarship Program of Overseas Study for Upcoming Artists from the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs.