A native of Japan, Composer/Arranger/Conductor Chie Imaizumi (pronounce Chee-ay Ee-my-zoo-me) has been named “The Rocky Mountain Jazz Artist of the Year”, her piece “Adversity” has won Second Place in the “Jazz” category in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition, and Down Beat Critics Poll recognized Chie Imaizumi as a ” Rising Star Composer”.
Her latest CD release, “Unfailing Kindness”(Capri Records) made 10 consecutive weeks on the CMJ Jazz Top-40 Chart, the Nationally Syndicated Radio Program “Listen Here!” named Chie as “ the Greatest Women of the Jazz Future”. Chie went into the studio to record her second CD for Capri Records in Jan 2010, with jazz legends such as Randy Brecker, John Clayton, Steve Davis, Jeff Hamilton, Gary Smulyan, Terell Stafford, Steve Wilson, Scott Robinson and more.
In 2008, US Air Force Academy Band’s “Falconaires” commissioned Chie to write a piece for the Monterey Jazz Festival, one of the oldest, most respected jazz festivals in the US. She entitled the song, “Sharing the Freedom” and conducted this piece, with the Falconaires, in front of over 1,500 audience members. ” I believe this performance shattered many stereotypes of not only military musicians but also shattered stereotypes of what a female Japanese jazz composer can do for international relations.” Deputy Commander of the US Air Force Academy Band Mr. Jason S. Plosch said. The impetus behind this piece of music called “Sharing the Freedom” was a musical representation of how Japan/United States relations have evolved over the years since the end of World War II. Furthermore, on Sept 11th 2009, she also hosted an event, “Sharing the Freedom: A Concert of Remembrance and Hope” again with the Falconaires that featured her compositions.
Chie’s commission work has also included pieces for Drummer Jeff Hamilton, the Consulate General of Japan to name a few.
Throughout her career she has also served as copyist and/or assistant to the legendary producer Mr. Teo Macero(Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck), John Clayton, Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band, John Lee, Big Apple Circus, Dave Schroeder, and John Gunther to name a few. Chie served as a Guest Artist in Residence from 2007 – 2010 at Denver School of the Arts.
Far from a stranger to the stage, Chie started her musical career at the early age of four, when she started playing the electric organ in her native homeland of Saitama, Japan. Continuing with the instrument all through her early years, Chie went on to win the Yamaha Electone Competition for outstanding performance on the electric organ at the regional and national levels several years in a row.
At 18, Chie began her intensive study of the jazz language at Senzoku Gakuen Junior College in Kanagawa, Japan, while changing her primary musical focus to the piano, and graduated top of her class.
While at Kanagawa, Chie appeared on several CD releases. Under the direction of producer and percussionist, Youichi Hosohata, Chie performed on “Voice Vol. 3″ on piano and keyboards. During this time she also recorded with Syamisen (traditional Japanese instrument) player Masahiro Nitta on King Records release entitled ” SOU”. Soon after entering Berklee in the fall of 2001, Chie began to shift her focus from performing to composing. Her extraordinary talents being soon recognized by the professors at Berklee, she was awarded the Herb Pomeroy award for Jazz
Composition in 2003. She had the extreme honor of performing her compositions with her own band at the 2004 North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, Netherland!
Her compositions have been performed with countless different bands at the IAJE Conference, the Regattabar Jazz Festival, the New Music Festival, and the Berklee Jazz Festival, to name just a few. Chie Imaizumi recorded her demo CD in July 2005 entitled ‘ A Change for the Better’. This disc features all original compositions by Chie, performed some amazing musicians including Greg Gisbert and Phil Wilson.
Upon graduating from Berklee, while keeping a busy schedule of composing and conducting her original music for variety of musical groups, Chie has also kept an active touring schedule, both here in the United States and abroad. Chie has toured Europe extensively, in 2005 alone having completed both a three week tour in the spring, and a three month tour in the winter, with the widely acclaimed Edith Piaf tribute band Ziaf. While in Europe, on top of playing performances nightly, the group also appeared on the foremost Radio stations and premier publications in Paris. While busy in their touring schedule, Ziaf caught the attention of Zoom-Zoom Productions and had the pleasure of being featured in the film/documentary Marguerite Monnot, Dans I’ombre de Piaf, having just been released in November of 2005.
Chie has also toured across her native country, Japan, numerous times, with the high energy and well received voice and piano duo ” Tsune-Chie”, of which she is the principal collaborator, composer, and pianist for the group. They have toured the country three times in the last three years, playing nightly without fail to packed houses and sold out shows. In 2002, she also had pleasure of touring Japan with rising stars and Geneon Entertainment Artists, the jazz vocal group ” Syncopation “.